There are conversations that we dread and wish to avoid. These are not limited to groups of people, they can occur with anyone…work, family, friends, and colleagues. Often, we tell ourselves a story about what we think happened. To gauge this, we need to consider the truth assumption. Why? Because our perceptions and interpretations of an event are based on our biases, and these may get in the way of the actual truth. Sometimes, our intention and the impact of that intention are not congruent and of course, there may be a moment or two when we choose not to take responsibility and blame the other person for the negative situation.
In telling ourselves a story, we need also, to pay attention to how we feel about the challenging situation. Fear, anger, frustration, and rejection are all valid feelings that may occur when we feel we have been crossed. These feelings are a normal and natural part of life however we need to have the capacity to self-regulate and ensure that they do not blur the story we tell ourselves.
So, how can we have an authentic and safe conversation?
We may wish to step away from our egos and consider that there is another person in the conversation who too, has a perspective and an interpretation of an event. Whilst it may be different from our own, it still needs to be acknowledged. Make the time to connect with the other person/s. Not all stories are equal however when one is genuinely interested in understanding the ‘why’ of others, they are more inclined to actively listen to what is said and mitigate a way forward. Ensuring that clear and respectful communication takes place in an environment with boundaries and mutual accountability enables a pathway that may be forged which generates opportunities for great learning and growth.