How do you feel about making “trouble”?
When teaching about communication, people often conflate aggressive with assertive.
Aggressive dialogue involves shouting, pointing and calling people names – not the best way to get a point across. The problem (especially for women), is we’re called aggressive when we’re actually calling people out. (In fact, we’re often called aggressive as a way to shut us down). It can make people uncomfortable and so we’re seen as “trouble.”
Asserting yourself without being rude isn’t being unkind. But it’s especially difficult when the person you’re addressing then resorts to what’s known as DARVO – a form of gaslighting that leads you questioning what’s going on. As a result we might stay quiet when we want to speak up.
It can flatten the mojo when you walk away from a conversation wishing “I should have said that”. So when I talk about being a “professional trouble maker” or “disrupter” I’m not talking about derailing a conversation or upsetting the applecart for the sake of it. I’m talking about those times, where silence is not an option:
This week, maybe set the intention to Be a Disrupter. The late John Lewis referred to this as ‘necessary’ trouble, ‘good’ trouble and as Luvvie Ajayi Jones explains, there are a number of steps to consider when entering an uncomfortable conversation:
1. Do I mean it? ie I’m not talking just to hear my own voice
2. Can I defend it? ie I have the facts to justify what I’m saying.
3. Can I say it thoughtfully? It’s not that everyone will receive it that way and some will definitely tell you to ‘watch your tone’. Recognise your intention; if it’s only to upset the applecart, it might be best left unsaid.
In all of this, Jones emphasises the need to pick your battles and measure your energy. Sometimes, you have to walk away and let others be the ‘good’ trouble for you.
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Copyright Delphi Ellis 2021