This article was originally published on PhiladelphiaMFT.com. Be sure to check out their site for professional relationship and sex advice.
Engaging in difficult conversations are a necessary evil in our situations and relationships. We usually dread having to discuss uncomfortable issues because of the anxiety we feel and the negative feedback we may receive from others. However the good can most certainly outweigh the bad when you have to have a challenging heart to heart with the ones you love. Here are just a few positives that come out of having difficult conversations:
1. You have a sense of relief.
When you’re upset about an issue and don’t challenge yourself to discuss it, animosity and resentment can develop; poisoning your spirit and ruining your relationship with others. Even if you have a tremendous amount of anxiety about broaching a subject, talking about it (even if it doesn’t go well) can make you feel a sense of relief due to it being verbalized and heard by the other person(s) involved.
2. You gain closure and understanding.
We can be so offended that we don’t even realize that the person who hurt us did so unintentionally. Speaking up and clearly explaining your issue can help you gain closure after everyone has addressed the misunderstanding. By pushing yourself to verbalize hurts and grievances you open yourself up to the opportunity to gain newfound understanding about yourself and your interactions with others.
3. You learn how to effectively articulate your emotions.
If you are someone who is very reactive or emotional when you try to address an issue with someone, you’re never going to get over it if you choose to continue to avoid the discomfort by refusing to discuss it. We all hate to be the person who thinks of what to say after the fact but you decrease your chances of having to deal with this if you challenge yourself more to speak up about your issues with others. To help you gain clarity about what you want to address during a difficult conversation, create bullet points that you want to bring up. Writing it down beforehand helps you gain a better understanding of why you’re upset and how to communicate that to effectively to someone else.
4. You find the confidence to set necessary boundaries.
Topics that are difficult are usually the ones in which we have to assert ourselves and create a boundary around a behavior that upsets us. Naturally, we hate to make others uncomfortable by correcting or telling them no. Humans are wired for belonging and closeness which leads us to our longing to be well liked and not rock the boat. However it is your responsibility to show people how you should be treated and the more you negate a difficult conversation, the more you accept whatever treatment you are receiving from others.
5. You learn how to “do it afraid”.
So many things are left unsaid because of the fear and dread associated with challenging conversations. We overthink and assume the worst will happen when we try to broach a touchy subject.
“What if it doesn’t go well?”
“What if they become upset with me?”
“What if they cut me out of their life?”
The above are just some of the fears that pass through our minds when we think about having not so pleasant discussions. Although difficult conversations are challenging, pushing yourself to have them every time a problem arises makes it that much easier. Regardless you will experience fear and anxiety but you’ll gain courage in learning how to do it afraid.
As anxiety provoking as difficult conversations can be, they are essential to our personal growth in life and relationships. When faced with the opportunity, always choose to challenge yourself and others to work through the hard discussion rather than shy away from them. If you feel you need more support on how to handle difficult conversations feel free to contact Philadelphia MFT.