There are few things in life I value more than honest communication.
It basically goes like this: Jesus, my family, my dogs, honest communication. No, wait, maybe Jesus, my family, my dogs, tacos and THEN honest communication. But it’s big for me. REAL BIG.
But the thing about honest communication is that it can be super scary. Because the big conversations almost always involve confrontation and saying uncomfortable things that are, well, TERRIFYING. Because if I have the hard conversation with you, you might not respond the way I want and need you to. And if that happens then you might not like me. Or I may stop liking YOU. And our relationship can end (be it personal or professional) and it will be all my fault.
Am I over-simplifying? Well yes, of course I am, but thankfully there is a book (lots of them actually but one in particular) that my good friend Julie Pierce gave me years ago called Crucial Conversations and it taught me a lot about how to navigate these necessary parts of our lives with grace and dignity. And pie. Oh, wait, I think Julie and I added the pie part ourselves.
today I had a scary conversation.
It doesn’t matter who it was with or what it was about, what matters is I was TERRIFIED. I didn’t want to do it. I knew it had to happen, but why did it have to be ME? Why did I have to be the one to point out the not so great things?
Because it just happens that way sometimes. Just like sometimes your air conditioner breaks or you get a flat tire or you get the flu.
So I called my friend, Peggy, and we hashed it out. I asked her point blank if she thought my perspective was off (as it is prone to be) and we talked about the right tone and approach. How could I say hard things and still couch them in love and grace? She gave me good words, encouragement and a strong sense of purpose and affirmed that it was, in fact, the right thing. I love her so much, not just because she agreed with me but because I know she would tell me if she didn’t.
And then I prayed a lot
And then I just jumped right in.
And you know what?
It was OK! I said the hard things, we talked through some possible solutions, I felt heard and my relationship was preserved! And the words that needed to be said were finally said!
If I’m going to be completely honest, as scared as I get going in, if I’m calm, if I’ve done my homework, and if I go in with the right intentions, the scary conversations almost ALWAYS go well. And even when they go badly, I’m glad I had them.
WAIT. WHAT DID SHE JUST SAY?
Yes. Even when they go badly I’m glad I had them. Because I am speaking my truth, and when I do that it never comes back as a negative. I may not like the reaction I get, I may even find out (gasp) that I’m WRONG, but if the conversation was really necessary, NOT having it WILL ALWAYS be more detrimental then having it.
So what scary conversation are you putting off? You know, the one you know you’re supposed to have? Is it your spouse? Your boss? Your mom? Your child?
Take a minute and think it through. We all have them. Some of us have been putting them off for years, but the thing is, the really important ones don’t go anywhere they just sit and wait for you to do the right thing.
I’m glad I had today’s scary conversation. And I’m glad I don’t think I have to have another one tomorrow. Because DANG, that was hard, but also #worthit.