"One difficult conversation is better than a bunch of conversations that avoid the truth."
I have noticed over weeks how one of my friendships took a new turn, to an unsettling space. My intuition had signaled this before, but when it comes to relationships involving another human being, it seems to get difficult for me to act on my gut feeling. If my intuition tells me to read this book, launch this video, or take a break from everything, then I`d do it within seconds. But if my hunch signals me that something is not going well with another person, esp. in a close friendship, there are so many factors to consider, at least according to my mind. From my past experiences, it seems that those friends affected were even more surprised if I communicated honestly what has not been going well, even if this was done in a mindful fashion. I seemed to be too kind and nice, so seeing me expressing my concerns, boundaries, or constructive feedback seems to take them aback. Which then often leads to, being hurt in that instant, hurtful retaliations, which I had to endure, while trying not to be more annoyed, upset, or hurt myself. It is important to stay in a relatively calm space for a constructive conversation, but it can be difficult if you are the only one.
So this time when I noticed this new development in one of my friendships (clearly, the Universe wants me to tackle, solve, and grow from this), I have been reflecting how I can do it differently now, having observed how my friend grew more defensive and hurtful on her end. The issue I see is that she is acting from a position of lack and unfulfilment, so her buttons are more easily pushed. This should call on my compassion as I had been there. Being unfulfilled, unhappy, even depressed for a long period of time, I wasn`t the best friend, family member, and person I could be. From her stressful position, she panicked quickly and approached me asking for a conversation to help solve one of her problems. As a friend, I immediately reacted, so I offered her a few slots. But then days would pass and she would suddenly say, knowing that her days are quite stressful, that she cannot make it and will let me know spontaneously when she has time.
When it happened the first time, I was fine, this can always be. But when it happened the second time, I was annoyed. My ego thought "It was you who wanted something from me. I was making time for you and now you suddenly don`t have time or interest to solve your own questions?! But then you still want answers to your questions?!" I remember how a friend held up a mirror to myself and my unintended, unkind behavior towards her, so I also decided to do the same in this relationship, saying that this was not the first time that this behavior happened again, so the next time she has questions, she shall please confirm a slot to have a call right away. With this message, I also committed to set my boundaries and also use the right to communicate what is not going well for both sides in a relationship. But I knew that my friend was very sensitive and would take it in a hurtful way, pushing back the negative feedback to me.
She has now offered to have a final conversation, and now I wonder what I can do to prepare for it and make this different - more compassionate and constructive, and less defensive and retaliating. More love, less ego. So I meditated on this topic today as part of my morning routine. Building on my little girl`s playground experience (s. my blog post from yesterday), I saw myself as a little girl and her mother holding her again. The little girl was ready to go into this conversation, but only with her favorite stuffed animal, for strength and protection. And as little children, the little girl woudn´t talk much, just listen and absorb. She was talking to another little girl, the one inside my friend, who was hurt, stressed, and in pain. Sensing the presence of my mum and stuffed animal, I know that I don`t have to act and do anything, in this safe space. Maybe clearing and listening to each other will do a lot already, and from this more connected space, a joint solution can be co-created.
I really do hope I can act with more compassion, understanding, and love this time. However irritating and annoying the current situation can be, this situation definitely offers an opportunity for me to act differently, role-model my own principles, and learn from it to master my skill of communication and conflict resolutions in close relationships.
How do you deal with difficult conversations, if at all? Let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – I very look forward to hearing from you! :) PS: Subscribe to my #mindfulmagic Newsletter to stay in touch for upcoming posts, free offers, and news :)
This week`s ...
Inspiration: Iyanla Vanzant - Acts of Faith
Reflection: How can I deal with difficult conversations with more compassion, for myself and others?
Intention: In difficult conversations, I try to look past the pain and create a space for listening and clearing first.