My last blog Are You Ready To Get Off The Fence, was about how being stuck and indecisive keeps us from moving toward our goals or making the changes that we want in our lives. Many times it’s our reluctance to have what we perceive to be a difficult conversation that keeps us in limbo- and keeps us in that place we don’t want to be. Having talked with and surveyed many people about difficult conversations, its fear that keeps us from these important, potentially relationship changing interactions. Being rejected, hurting someone or being hurt, damaging or even losing the relationship and making the person angry are the most common reasons we avoid or fear having these discussions.
With most of my clients and certainly in my own life there is a difficult or at least challenging conversation that is a necessary part of repairing, improving and growing our relationships with our spouses/partners, co-workers, family members and friends. Sadly, far too often these conversations don’t happen, or don’t happen soon enough. We end up harboring resentment, being angry or hostile, being cautious and guarded and generally withholding and creating distance in our relationships instead of thriving in them.
My own fear of these difficult conversations played a significant part in the breakdown of my 18 year marriage. I had many, many excuses to put off having these conversations. I told myself things like “now is not the right time“, or “I don’t want to get into a heated discussion”, “I’ll wait till we’re in a better place”. I used these excuses as permission to put off having the talks and more often than not they simply didn’t happen.
Unfortunately, I timed out and missed my opportunity to have the discussions, to address the issues that prevented me from being fully present in my relationship and in my marriage. In retrospect, I wish I had had the courage to speak my truth, to share my concerns and to ask for what I wanted. Had I done this, I would have been fully sharing myself rather than creating distance between us.
Would that have saved my marriage? Who knows? And that’s not the point. What I do know is that I would have been a very different person in my marriage. I would have been happier with myself. My divorce taught me many lessons, all of which are core to who I am as a coach. With regard to all relationships I love the idea that Intimacy is INTO ME – SEE. It means we’re truthful to ourselves and that we’re vulnerable, honest and direct with those who are important to us.
Who do you need to have a difficult conversation with? Naming it is the first step!