No one looks forward to having a difficult conversation. The truth is a difficult conversation will always be difficult and putting it off will not make the conversation any easier to initiate or to receive. As adults, in order to get the things that we need, sometimes we have to have those difficult conversations.
Historically, I have not always been able to initiate a difficult conversation in an honest way. I would be passive aggressive or manipulative in order to ensure the outcome that I desired. Or I would simply avoid the conversation, allow my frustration to build until I would ultimately explode over something small.
For example, the argument that finally ended my second marriage was about a missed car payment. For the record, I did not get divorced because my husband missed a car payment but that was the proverbial straw. I never said anything about what was really upsetting me because I didn’t know how, I just kept my mouth shut and kept it moving until I couldn’t anymore.
It is not healthy to suppress your feelings. One way or another what you are feeling is going to come out and you get to choose how. Have the conversation.
I had to go through this recently and here are the steps I took:
Identify the issue
Speak it out loud
Validate my own feelings
Play out the worst case scenario in my head, and ask myself, "Am I gonna die if this is really the outcome?"
Remind myself that if I don’t say something, nothing will change
Ask God to give me the right words
Have the conversation
This process took about four days. In the past, I would have taken those four days to talk myself out of having the conversation. I would tell myself that I was over-reacting or that what I believed to be true about the situation really wasn’t. This time, I took the time that I needed to make sure that I presented my feelings in such a way that didn’t come across as accusatory or blaming. The situation is the situation, now how can we resolve it?
As I journey to 56, I recognize that I can ask for exactly what I want without fear, even if it means having a difficult conversation.