Getting my point across often involved feelings of deep frustration, powerlessness, and sometimes even anger. Which led to elevating my voice and the occasional yelling match. Followed by whoever yells the loudest wins the bout. Man, I do NOT miss those days.
For me, it was how I learn to “communicate.” Sprinkled with some guilt and passive aggressive manipulation for a more penetrating effect. You know, normal heated conversations. Or as some would call arguing. Tomato tomahto. Leaving one feeling even more icky than what started the argument in the first place!
NOW THE FLIP SIDE
Realizing this, a pattern I no longer wished to continue, I then started avoiding conflict altogether. Until I couldn’t. Resulting in me speaking so directly with such candor, no one’s spirit could survive the blow. Tact, what tact? Hey, but at least I didn’t have to yell. Now no one felt safe to share. Least of all, me.
My painstakingly infamous rise toward personal development left a wake of broken and bitter hearts. I make no bones about it. I own being a complete ass back then. And still can be to those who take everything personal. Besides, that’s a “them” thing.
I share these uncomfortable truths about my past to say how avoiding conflict because it’s uncomfortable only reinforces a lack of understanding. The pitfalls and cost of which co-create conditions that further our inability to speak authentically, honor relationships, and support mutual respect. For those of us still unsure of how to share feelings, in my humble observation, speaks to patterns unconsciously being propagated from generation to generation.
What is it that keeps our civilization in this perpetual state of disconnect? Is it because we wish to do no harm? Or is it the false belief that somehow we hurt ourselves when sharing our truth with another?
For all the people pleasers, givers, and those caught in the fog of polite niceties, I extend empowering tips that bridge the gap between kind directness and overly forthcoming conversations.
- How someone reacts/responds to our truth is out of our control – taking on that self-imposed responsibility of how it is being received is not the way by which we honor them. Isn’t is their right to respond/react how they deem fit, no matter how uncomfortable? We owe them at least that much. Besides, who are we to control the outcome for them?
- People pleasing is just another form of control – the truth is, as people pleasers we go out of our way to create situations that feel safe for us because of beliefs of guilt. Our desire “To do no harm” is really a fear of rejection and retaliation. As long as you’re not an ass in your delivery, it’s up to them to process however they deem fit. In NO way am I saying we should endure shenanigans that put us in harm’s way, or cross personal and professional boundaries. Let’s keep it real y’all.
- Simply share and share simply – when sharing what matters most, we may feel compelled to share more than is necessary in order to feel understood. Overly verbose explanations do more harm than good. Offering too much detail before delivering the point has a way of diluting your message. Simply announce you have something to share and unsure how to say it. Next, speak your truth without blame, judgment or criticism. Then, allow them space to ask for clarification if needed.
- Gratitude goes a long way – always express thankfulness for the ability to share, even in the face of not so good news. Whether they love or hate you for it, expressing gratitude for the ability to share really says thank you for listening.
Freedom is an exercise in responsibility and accountability. Plain and simple. And control is control no matter how we try to paint it. This goes for givers and takers alike. Because the reality is they share opposite ends of the same spectrum.