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  • Writer's pictureBess de Boer

Lifting The Veil On Difficult Conversations

Updated: Mar 21, 2021

What makes conversations difficult is all the stuff we’re thinking and feeling, but NOT saying to the other - the hidden CONVERSATIONS WE HAVE IN OUR HEAD, while the real conversation is taking place in front of us.

These internal dialogues are triggered to help us decide where we stand on three important things, in a challenging conversation:

1. THE FACTS – our view about what really happened, what we think was said and most importantly… who’s to blame.

2. THE FEELINGS – Are our feelings valid? Should we let the other know them? What are they feeling and what should we do about it?

3. THE MEANING – How the situation reflects on us and what meaning we give to it. Does it make us a good or bad person? Does it make us worthy or unworthy of love? What impact does it have on our self-esteem, our future or our wellbeing?

The conclusions we draw from these internal conversations significantly impact how we REACT in our external conversation. They determine, whether we're balanced and at ease, or anxious, combative and fearful. What we tell ourselves in these internal conversations about the facts, the feelings and what the situation says about us, directly affects our state of mind and how we handle the external conversation we’re involved in.

On the surface, difficult conversations are about DEFENDING THE 'TRUTH' in the situation – but on a deeper level, the struggle has to do with differences in perception, how we interpret the facts, and our values.

Arguments aren't really about the words in a contract. They're about WHAT THE WORDS MEAN, to us. They're not about facts. They're about WHAT'S IMPORTANT in the situation… They’re not about the other’s actions, but about the INTENTION behind them.

Being aware of THE ROLE that OUR INTERNAL CHATTER plays on the conversation on the outside, and recognizing the fears it triggers in us, can help us calm our mind and navigate our emotions. It can help us deal with the issue we’re actually facing, rather than the one we're projecting in our mind.

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