Communication & Abundance: A simple tool to go from defensive to calm in challenging conversations
I was with one of my friends a few months ago and found myself in a bit of a rant. It went something like this:
If we could all just communicate - not react, judge, assume, or defend, but actually communicate authentically without charge - we would discover we have more in common than we think and have more compassion and love to share.
Communicating is the basis of abundance and creating what you desire.
Clarity, boundaries, connection, love, to be seen and understood. So much of our ability to navigate the world henges on 1) being aware of ourselves, our needs and our desires and 2) being able to communicate all of that to others.
Communication creates a foundation for successful relationships in our personal and professional lives.
And yet… it can be SO HARD to communicate.
Because we have baggage and big feels from past traumas and experiences - old messages, patterns, and belief systems - that interrupt our ability to communicate what’s actually happening in various situations in our lives.
All of our relationships are mirrors, whether it’s our boss or colleagues, spouses or partners, kids or friends. When we interact we’re not just talking to the person in front of us, we’re being reminded of various versions of ourselves and people from our past.
Our brains want to resolve the challenges of our past so we continually - and oftentimes unconsciously - seek out the same types of people and relationships, only to find ourselves in the same patterns of struggle.
All of the above makes communication (and relationships in general) messy and complicated.
It’s SO EASY to feel hurt and misunderstood, to enter into conversations with charge and gusto. So today I want to share one of my favorite tools to help!
THE “I FEEL” FREE WRITE
Because our communication is tied to so many other feelings that often have very little to do with the present moment or the person standing in front of us, it’s incredibly helpful to let our feelings out in a safe way and, in this instance with the “I Feel” Free Write, in a way that will help us get clear about what’s actually happening behind our initial reaction.
Grab a piece of paper and something to write with. You can do this activity in your head or out loud, but putting pen to paper is a fabulous way to release and also to clearly SEE what’s on the page afterwards.
Start with the prompt “I feel” and then fill in the blank. Write as fast as you can without thinking, judging or editing. Continue writing the prompt “I feel” and write anything and everything that comes up. Really let yourself go and go and go, just keep writing.
After your list is complete, see what’s there. Nine times out of ten when I do this activity, my initial feelings of hurt, frustration or anger are not the core of what I’m feeling. Typically I discover the core about 10 feelings in and it’s something like, “I feel unsupported.” Or “I feel unseen.” Or hilariously, sometimes it’s, “I’m tired and hungry,” and all I really need is to rest and eat something.
Take your newfound calm and insight back to the conversation. Now that you’ve released and gained clarity around your feelings, it’s so much easier to return to the relationship and share your authentic truth about what happened and what’s coming up for you rather than a defensive or charged reaction.
This is one tool of many that has helped me navigate challenging conversations. Learn more in my FREE “From Panic To Grace: How To Navigate Challenging Conversations” Webinar on October 5th.
I’d love to know what you’re experiencing around conversations. Are there specific ones you dread? Where could you use extra love and support? Send me a message or tell me in the comments below.
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Lots of love,