A few weeks ago, I put myself in a nearly unfortunate situation by ignoring signs posted along a beach warning of the dangerous swimming conditions. Instead of abiding by the rules, I plunged into the unpredictable waves which dragged me out to sea. As I watched the warning signs become distant reminders of the foolish predicament I placed myself in, I began the desperate and anxious swim back to shore. Exhausted and defeated, I made it back to the beach. I’m sure I was a sight-to-see clumsily crawling out of the restricted water. I wasted 30 minutes of that gorgeous day plunging myself into a disappointing situation rather than respecting the clear signs showing me how to avoid interacting with those dubious waves.
Reminiscing on my near-death experience (I’m being dramatic) and my lack of respect for signs, I thought about all of the conversations I’ve managed poorly. I foolishly plunged into them without any measure of respect or caution.
Let me ask you…Have you ever said too much? Spoken at the wrong time? Forgot to filter your words before they exploded infectiously all over a person you love?
I will be the first to admit I’ve royally messed up by speaking at the wrong time or using unhelpful words. I’ve left many conversations feeling exhausted, defeated and anxious. Can you relate?
The fact is, we have the choice to go into every conversation responsibly and avoid disappointing outcomes by looking at the following “signs:”
DO YOU HAVE PERMISSION?
If you don’t have a relationship based on love and trust, chances are you don’t have permission to share your thoughts with the person you are speaking with. Are you not sure? Ask permission to share your thoughts before making the mistake of speaking out of turn.
IS IT THE RIGHT TIME?
If a person isn’t ready to have a conversation, waiting for the right time is not only healthy but crucial in having a productive and stress-free interaction. Are you unsure about timing? Ask!
HOW WILL IT LAND?
You may have all the right answers, but if your response isn’t full of love, the words you speak will have no meaning or value. How you say it is just as important as what needs to be said. If you have all the wisdom and knowledge in the world, but don’t speak with love, every word spoken will land on deaf ears. The gift of listening is the most loving response you can give to a friend. If you are unsure of what to say, being silent and “with somebody” is the most precious gift you can give.
Ignoring the right way to love somebody through a conversation can leave us feeling disappointed and defeated much like my near unfortunate ocean encounter. Let’s practice entering into every conversation responsibly and strategically.
Written by Holly Hall