In my practice, the issue people complain about most is communication.
Do you ever choose to shut down, rather than pursuing an important conversation with someone whom you care about? Most of us do, from time to time. Why do we make this choice?
I can think of several reasons:
- You may fear that if you say what you really feel, you will have a fight.
- You may not want to push things too far, out of fear that you may endanger the relationship.
- You may be afraid to hear what the other person really feels. For instance, sometimes we don’t want to know that a person who is important to us feels very differently than we do.
- If you start talking about an important matter, you may be forced to acknowledge your bottom line, to the other person and to yourself. Taking a stand can be scary, especially if doing so means that things have to change.
- Letting the other person know you better can feel uncomfortable, for many reasons.
There is a delicate balance here. It doesn’t always make sense to speak up, especially in haste.
But when you find yourself avoiding communication about important issues, you may want to consider the benefits of moving toward the other person, rather backing away.
These can include:
- Getting unstuck. When you address a sticky issue, there is the possibility of resolution or change.
- Revealing more of yourself: Having someone understand you can feel good.
- The prospect of learning more about the other person, thereby deepening intimacy.
Talking about a difficult issue can be a challenge. You need to be able to soothe yourself when you get scared or angry, because fear and anger make it hard to speak and listen thoughtfully.
Do you want to address tough issues with someone you care about, but are scared to move toward that person? I’ll be glad to help you develop the skills to calm yourself enough to act in a way that you respect.