When you are having a difficult relationship with someone, either at work or in your personal life, and you engage in conversation with them, your thoughts and words reflect the emotion and feelings that YOU are feeling. This is unlikely to be helpful to either of you.
Whilst the definition of conversation is the ‘interchange through speech, of information and ideas’, unless you are totally present to what the other person is saying, the conversation will prove unsatisfactory.
This is because a conversation is all about exchanging thoughts and ideas rather than thinking about your response, whilst the other person is speaking.
If you are interacting with someone who has upset you, wronged you, bullied you, lied to you or left you feeling frustrated, you might say that you are justified in responding and expressing your emotions.
The problem when that happens is that if you are lost in your own emotion and feel angry or frustrated then you are likely to say something which will reflect that emotion or feeling and leave you regretting the words that you said. Both of you will leave that conversation feeling worse than when you entered it. This is because you forgot the fundamental rules of conversation.
If you have some difficult things to say, you have to enter that conversation from a different stand point. Don’t fall into the trap of entering the conversation from an emotional and personal perspective.
If looked at objectively, this is a selfish stance and will serve no-one in the end, not even yourself as it will leave you regretting things that you said and feeling bad and angry inside, perpetuating the problem which originally you were trying to have a conversation about.
Instead enter that conversation from a spirit of curiosity, generosity and kindness. Be prepared to accept that you may not know what prompted the other person’s behaviour to make you feel these emotions in the first place.
Remember that we all see the world from our own perspective, and like a coin there are two sides to every story, ying and yang, black and white, left and right. We are influenced by our own values and beliefs, and perhaps accepting we do not know everything can help draw out the reality and the whole story which may be very different to what was first thought.
Treating the other person with kindness will elicit a much better response that a barrage of abuse or demands.
Having a private meeting with a mediator can help remind you of the values and principles you have but have forgotten or lost sight of in the emotions you are feeling.