As the “Mean It” Madness continues, I’m delighted to share insights from sincere people around the world who have reached out to share their stories.
Today’s post is inspired by Cat Willliams a relationship counsellor and author of Stay Calm and Content. She shares how meaningful conversations start by telling yourself the truth.
If you have a story of where saying what you mean made all the difference, click here to share.
Start a More Meaningful Conversation
“He that undervalues himself will undervalue others, and he that undervalues others will oppress them.”~Samuel Johnson
Many conversations break down because the issue being discussed is not the real issue at hand. Even when people are communicating “well” with “I statements” and the like, if the real issue isn’t surfaced, it can’t be addressed. Much energy is spent in such false dialogue. Truths remain unspoken and the undercurrent of resentment continues.
Cat shared that some of the hardest conversations are those in which we must apologize. It’s tough to admit to ourselves that we’ve done something wrong. It’s even more scary to face potential rejection if the apology is not accepted.
It’s far easier to convince ourselves someone else is to blame, and we start with a solid argument to ourselves. We soothe our egos, and our important apologies remain un-offered. As I heard Cat’s story, my heart tugged with a few folks in need of a call.
Leaders who are insecure are more likely to cover up their fears by limiting feedback and placing blame. What appears tough on the outside, may actually a false barricade to protect a fragile ego.
Cat shares a useful metaphor, if we think of ourselves as a car, our engine is our self-esteem. Many people don’t do the necessary maintenance and upkeep that needs to be done on that engine, and instead choose to focus on the engine’s exhaust, or the symptoms that surface in the form of emotions.
To ensure we’re dealing with the true issues, Cat encourages us to take time, and not rush to communicate. Here are several questions that can help you slow down and start a more meaningful conversation.
- What am I really upset about here. Is the issue I’m reacting to the real problem, or is something deeper?
- How is my confidence involved in this? Is there something I’m unsure or afraid of that’s making me feel insecure. In other words, am I dealing with the “engine” or the exhaust?
- How have my interpretations played into the meaning here?,/li>
- Are there other possible interpretations or explanations for what’s happening?
- What do I really want from this conversation? What is the best possible outcome?
- What is the most effective way to communicate my feelings?
- How can I listen so I can really hear what the other person is looking to convey? How can I encourage them to say what they really mean?
To hear my interview with Cat Williams: