Life is full of times we need to have a hard conversation.
Having to fire an employee
Telling your parents you want to follow your own dream instead of theirs
Giving someone feedback
Telling someone you no longer love them
As different as these examples are, they are similar in that, they are considered by most to be “hard conversations.”
What makes these types of conversations, hard?
Fear of the other person’s reaction.
Worry about their emotional response.
Concern for hurting someone’s feelings.
Anxiety about the other person no longer “liking us”.
Before we have to have one of these conversations, we often play it out in our minds over and over again.
We rehearse it.
We prepare for the worst-case scenario.
We anticipate the pain and the hurt feelings.
Sometimes we become so afraid of the conversation that we procrastinate having it.
This future conversation just becomes bigger and scarier in our minds.
A huge obstacle.
A massive distraction.
Sometimes the worry and the dread about having the conversation just eat us alive.
Let me tell you the truth about something that will bring you some relief if you need to have a difficult conversation and it’s making you crazy with worry and dread.
Here is what you need to know…
You can never actually hurt another person’s feelings.
Seriously. Nothing you can say or do can actually hurt a person’s feelings.
I know that you might be thinking – this doesn’t make any sense – because, if you are like me, then you were told your entire life to be careful of other people’s feelings and try to never hurt them.
That’s what most people believe and I am here to tell you that it is not true and why this is such good news.
Words and actions do not create feelings.
Thoughts create feelings.
Each person creates their own thoughts.
And they get to think whatever they want about what the hear, see or experience in the world.
They may choose to think that I hurt their feelings by saying or doing what I did, but that does not make it true.
The thought ‘She hurt my feelings’ is what is actually hurting their feelings, not what actually I said or did.
See the difference?
It’s subtle and it’s extremely important.
Of course, we want people in our lives to be happy and listen to us and like us and not judge us…but at the end of the day, we have absolutely no control over any of that.
But the craziest part is that we go around believing that we can control what other people think and feel and so we try really hard to make sure that we control their thoughts and emotions for our benefit so that we always feel good.
And when we are always pursuing making other people happy so that we can always feel good, then we are basically deciding to lie – to avoid having hard conversations and telling the truth.
And that is when we get ourselves into so much trouble.
That type of avoidance (of hard conversations) and speaking our truths, setting boundaries, being honest, ending or beginning new things is exactly what keeps us stuck and trapped in situations or lifestyles that we don’t want to be in.
So here is what you can do, if you recognize that you avoiding having hard conversations.
Know what you do control (and it’s way more than you think!)
How we deliver our message
Being truthful and honest
Speaking from my heart and with integrity
Being kind and compassionate
Allowing others to experience whatever they want to, based on their thoughts and feelings
Managing our own minds
Noticing and responding appropriately to our own emotions
When in doubt, pouring more love into the situation for our benefit
And one final thing that you can control is how you prepare for a hard conversation – because worrying and dreading and procrastinating doesn’t get you anything.
It only delays and postpones what you want or need to do and makes the conversation seem 10x worse than it really is.
Focus on all the things you can control and check out my step by step guide on how to prep for a hard conversation.
- What is the hard conversation that you need to have?
- Why do you need to have it?
- Why do you think it will be hard?
- What will your life be like if you never have this conversation?
- What is it costing you to postpone this conversation?
- What do you want the outcome of this conversation to be?
- What part of that outcome do you control?
- How can you have the conversation from a place of truth and integrity?
- How can you be loving towards yourself, even if you don’t get the response that you would like?
- Have the conversation.Take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings before, during and after the conversation. Be kind and loving towards yourself. Celebrate your compassionate side. Allow the other person to have their own experience.
If you prefer, we can do this work together – because I know that two minds are better than one. Book a complimentary Breakthrough Session to see how to shift your thinking about hard conversations so you can feel more empowered. Let’s take 30 minutes to talk about it. Book your session today!