Have you ever told someone in the morning that you want to talk with them when you get home from work and then say something like, “And, you’re not going to like what I have to say?” I have, until I realized saying something like that sets people up to be defensive and to spend the day thinking about how bad the conversation will be when you get home.
No matter how difficult it is to honestly and openly share what you must (hard conversations) with the people in your life, be respectful and think how it feels to be on the receiving end of your words before you say them. Put yourself in their position. One reason relationships fail is due to a lack of clear, honest and respectful communication.
For your peace of mind and to come away from an exchange without regret, do your best to say what you must without anger, blame, or expectations of how your words will be received. State your concerns then allow the other person to do the same. Listen carefully to what is being said without allowing your mind to think about what you are going to say in response. We cannot form a response and listen at the same time. So really listen to the words of others with your heart and you will hear what the other person is saying. Only when you have actually listened to what someone says can you form the best response.
This week remain mindful of what you say and how you say it. Is what you say clear? Do you give all of the information necessary to get your point across? Are your words gentle and supportive, or harsh and reprimanding? Do you listen to others with a quiet mind?
Your words define you, to yourself and to others. You are the one who is responsible for how your words either hurt or heal, are clear or confusing, supportive or derogatory. Remember, the words you choose are powerful representations of how much you love and respect yourself, or not. The same is true of how you listen. Truly listening to another person is how you love and respect him or her too.