“A lot of problems in the world would disappear if we talk to each other instead of about each other.”
Misunderstandings, hurt feelings, anger, frustration, sadness….so many of these negative emotions all stem from the fact that two people don’t talk to each other about things. It happens in the workplace, it happens in friendships, it happens in dating, it happens in families, and it happens in marriages. It happens all of the time between just about everyone – so why don’t we fix it??
I can’t speak for you, but I know for me the times I hesitate talking it out with someone it usually stems from feelings of pride, or embarrassment, or a bad attitude on my part that takes the position that talking won’t change anything before I have even given it a fair chance to find out. It never comes from a positive attitude on my part, which tells me that it is never okay to justify not trying to talk it out.
I do think we have to be careful about when we choose to talk something out with someone. Doing it in a group of people probably isn’t appropriate. Doing it at a family or friends gathering probably isn’t appropriate. Doing it in a moment when you are angry and defensive probably isn’t appropriate. In order for a conversation to be meaningful and have the best chance of success you need to make sure it is done in a good setting. Ask to talk to someone alone where you can both speak freely. Wait until you have calmed yourself down and your head and heart are coming from a positive place before walking into the conversation – if you need a quick time out to calm down then take it before you start talking. When you need to have someone understand the importance of a conversation simply start it by saying “this conversation means a lot to me…and some of what I need to talk about is hard for me so bear with me while I try to express what I am feeling…” sometimes letting the other person know right up front that it’s important to you and it’s difficult for you can set the groundwork that you both need to be open and that you are coming from a place of sincerity.
Not communicating with someone when we really ought to is an easy habit to fall into. It is uncomfortable to talk about hard or emotional things. It is hard to admit when we are hurting or vulnerable. It’s so much easier to just avoid someone or to talk negative about them to other people. That’s probably why so many people do it.
All I know is that the times I suck it up and just talk to the other person it has always led to a better place for us. Not every disagreement can be resolved, but the bad feelings from the disagreement can be if you try to respect and see each other’s side. You don’t have to be in agreement with someone to have respect for each other’s views. And even if the other person is unwilling to talk, the very fact that you tried allows you to walk away feeling good because you tried to the right thing and that is all you can do in life.
Today’s challenge is to talk to someone you have been struggling with and see if you can’t come to a better place by communicating sincerely and from the heart. It certainly can’t hurt to try.