How do we manage challenging conversations while maintaining our peace of mind?
Well, it takes time, patience, determination and a good level of self-awareness; And even then, there can be times where we " lose the plot".
There are a few questions we can ask ourselves to gain better understanding of the situation:
1. How do I communicate?
2. Do I practice active listening?
3. If the other person is not willing to listen, how do I react?
4. What is my motivation behind my behaviour?
There is this idea of "being the bigger person", or "rising above the situation" and choosing to say nothing. But as a very good friend said to me " I want my peace of mind, but I also want to say my piece!"
We can choose when to speak and when to remain silent, and most times the choice is based on whether we are willing to face the consequences of being honest with each other. There is definitely some wisdom in knowing when to withhold our thoughts and opinions, but if that happens all the time, we are left with a greater danger: the possibility of losing our own integrity, damaging our self-esteem and ignoring our own needs. On the other hand, being open with all, in the name of authenticity, can also be problematic, depending on the circumstances, as it can often lead to arguments. Like with most things in life, finding our own balance is necessary. Even if we remain silent, we can do so from a point of conscious choice, so we stay true to ourselves and can acknowledge our emotions and thoughts internally. If we decide to speak up, we have to be ready to accept that we cannot control other people's reactions. Being assertive is synonymous to being respectful to ourselves and each other.
So how do we manage a challenging conversation? By taking a deep breath, and remembering that not everyone is willing to listen, nor wants advice, not everyone needs to agree with us...and that's ok.