Do you ever blurt?
By that I mean, words erupt from your mouth without any apparent warning or you say something because, if you don’t, you feel like you might explode. And then you wish you hadn’t.
If we’re being honest, we can probably all relate to saying the wrong thing from time to time, even just by mistake. They can be innocent things, but we can feel so silly after the fact.
Sometimes, when we say the “wrong” thing, it then stops us saying what’s “right”. In the world we are currently navigating, it’s more important than ever that we speak our minds in the face of (eg) injustice and brutality, at the same time without widening the polarisation between “us and them”. We have to pick our moments, but sometimes saying something is better than saying nothing at all.
Here’s something that might help:
This week, maybe set the intention to Say It Anyway. If someone has been voicing an opinion that you disagree with, you can reply with the golden statement I often recommend: “I see things differently”. This gives the other person the opportunity to ask you to clarify your opinion and hear what you have to say; if they’re not interested you know where you stand (ie they might not belong in your tribe).
Another way of stating a point is from the “I” position, like “I think”, “I feel”, “I need” – it helps us own what we’re saying. One way I do this in challenging situations is to start with “I think it’s important we consider/acknowledge/pause/reflect…” This gives people the opportunity to look at the ‘big picture’ rather than just from their own perspective. Another way is asking people what we can agree on (rather than what we don’t). Non-violent communication means recognising all the views, but at the same time asserting what we might need. Suggestions on how to manage really heated discussions are in this article.
Of course if you’ve dropped an absolute doozy, the best and only way to proceed really is to say sorry. Acknowledge what you did, say sorry without ‘but’, and remember it’s ok to respect your feelings – and important to hear theirs – in the process.
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