It can be difficult to have conversations about things that feel uncomfortable. You might find it so difficult that you avoid it altogether and shut down whenever anyone tries to bring it up with you.
That might seem like the best option because why would anyone choose to feel uncomfortable.
However, when you avoid something it doesn’t go away and you don’t allow yourself room to grow.
So instead of avoiding a difficult conversation or holding back when you speak, try something different.
Be open, honest and know that the initial uncomfortable feeling will subside.
It’ll take a bit of practice but eventually you’ll get to a place where the difficult conversation is actually pretty easy.
Think of something that you’re currently working on and ask yourself with no judgement, can I do better?
When you’re not getting what you want out of life and things aren’t quite going your way, it’s easy to blame external things.
But sometimes the reason things aren’t working out is because you need to do better.
Maybe you’ve gotten lazy or maybe you weren’t aware of the effort required.
Once you’ve realised you need to do better, do better.
Yes, it really is that simple.
No matter how much you plan and prepare you always encounter unexpected situations.
In the moment it can be easy to end up feeling overwhelmed after all this is not what you wanted, it’s not what you planned for.
And so you have two choices. The first is to get caught up in the unexpected and the feeling of things being out of your control. The second is to take a moment to check in and ask yourself whether this unexpected situation poses any real risk. Most of the time the answer is no, in fact you have something to gain.
Unexpected situations can serve as an opportunity to learn how to be more adaptable which is a pretty valuable thing.
…as you would have them do unto you.
The idea of treating people as you’d want to be treated is all good and well in theory.
But when it comes down to the crunch, is it what you practice in your day to day life.
When people talk about this topic of how we should treat other people, often they’re thinking of how they want to be treated. Yet the same kindness, respect, honestly, understanding and patience is not extended to others.
It doesn’t mean that you’re cruel to people, it could be something as small as not holding the door open for people but expecting others to do it for you.
Sometimes it’s intentional and sometimes it’s by accident. But when you catch yourself treating someone in a way you would not want to be treated, change your behavior.
You can learn a lot from someone by simply observing them.
I recently noticed in a particular relationship that the other person had very clear boundaries. It wasn’t anything that had been explicitly stated but through this persons actions it was very clear what they were and were not open to.
Sometimes a persons boundaries can feel personal. You might feel that they’re being harsh and closed off toward you. On the other hand you might internalise it and end up thinking you need to put in more effort.
In the situation I experienced I could have taken it personally, in fact 5 years ago I would have. I’d have thought this means [insert monologue of dramatic over reaction here] and maybe this person doesn’t like me.
But I now understand that a boundary is for the person setting them, it has little to do with the people on the receiving end.
Sometimes the hardest part is facing it.
Once you accept it, you can make a plan for what do next. That for many is exciting.
However, facing the difficult truth is the necessary first step. You do it by acknowledging and understanding the situation. In some cases it will involve admitting the role that you played contributed to a negative outcome.
That’s a helpful lesson because it allows you to understand the implications of your actions.
It might be a bitter pill to swallow but we all make mistakes. Luckily, we also have the capacity to fix them and make things better.
If you find yourself experiencing a difficult situation, similar to something you have faced in your past you have the opportunity to handle it differently and with new knowledge and experience.
Don’t just caught up in the thought of ‘why is this happening to me again?’. Instead thing about what you can do to get the outcome you desire.
Answer the questions:
What did you do last time?
What did you want to happen?
What was the outcome?
What can you do differently this time?
Even if things don’t turn out perfectly, it’ll feel good to know that you handled things better than you did in the past
What does freedom feel like to you?
More specifically what sort of life does it consist of?
Perhaps it’s less work and more time for creative pursuits. Maybe spending time less time with people that judge and criticise you. It could be feeling like you have options and not feeling obligated to do certain things. It could be more of that feeling you get when you’re around the people you love.
The feeling of freedom is easy to create in some areas of your life for example simply stop spending time with people you don’t feel good around. But on the flipside it might be slightly more challenging.
If those questions aren’t easy to answer, it’s something worth giving them some thought.
Once you have an answer, think about how much it aligns with your current life.
If gap between them is wide, what can you do to change that?
So often we rely on being confident before we do something without knowing how we’ll get there or how it will feel.
But when it comes to overcoming a lack of confidence, it only takes a willingness to be outside of your comfort zone long enough to get more comfortable.
One day you’ll have the confidence to do whatever it is without the nerves. Then, maybe after a few months you’ll find yourself volunteering to do the thing that once scared you.
A message I’m always keen to get across is that as much as it’s important to open up, what matters even more is that you do it with the right people.
For some that may be obvious but others might find themselves wondering who qualifies as ‘right’.
It really depends on the individual.
However, there are a few questions you can ask yourself like…
How do I want to feel when I open up?
What do I want from the person I open up to?
Then come up with the answers and think about the people you know that align with this.
For example, if what you want from the person you open up to is emotional support and a listening ear, it’s no use opening up to someone who is just going to tell you what to do. Or if you want to feel calm and supported it’s no use talking to someone that leaves you feeling anxious.
Further to that think about your past experiences. Can you think of a time you opened up to someone and regretted it? Can you think of a time you were glad you opened up to someone?
I’ve found that these types of situations, when you know what you want, you’ll know what you’re willing to accept.
Sometimes that means being a little more picky about who you choose to open to.