Why We Don’t Have That Critical Conversation

TLG Partner Patti Cotten

April 15, 2019

When was the last time that you looked forward to having a difficult conversation? Most of us run from confrontation and as a consequence, we carry the weight from unresolved conflict and sub-par relationships.

What keeps us from having more emotional courage to confront?

  1. You don’t feel safe. You may feel that the difficult conversation you need to have will place you in a vulnerable position. You may even worry that there are negative repercussions from confronting the issue. If this is the case, you may be dealing with an unsafe person, and there is deeper work to be done in order for you to feel accepted, respected, and supported (see the book, Safe People by Henry Cloud and John Townsend).
  2. You fear loss. You may feel that by having that difficult conversation you will risk being rejected or unloved. If you identify with this, ask yourself what you fear happening most. Most likely, as you examine this, you will recognize that your fear is not rational. Ask yourself what positive things you can gain by having the conversation, and identify how this will positively affect your work, life, and others affected by the current negative state – a great start to lifting up emotional courage.
  3. You aren’t comfortable with negative emotions. Human beings don’t like discomfort, and most of us have not been taught the value of negative emotions, which make us uncomfortable. Rather than avoiding these, consider managing them. Negative emotions are key indicators that simply invite you to pay more attention to the situations that are creating them. Use these smart and helpful alerts to decipher what about the situation or problem is upsetting. This will help you to widen your lens as you consider solutions.

Next time, we will explore a framework that will help you to have that difficult conversation more easily and in a way that invites collaboration – a win-win!

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