Think of a conversation you’ve recently had, one you walked away from thinking “what just happened?” You may have gone into it with the best of intentions, but it went sideways in a heartbeat. Remember what you thought…how it made you feel…and the way you felt in your body as you walked away. Did you feel an ache or tightness in your chest, or in your gut, or did your neck feel tight?
Now think about a conversation that you’ve had where you ended feeling amazing. It flowed effortlessly, felt light, peaceful, freeing. You may have felt warmness in your body, joy in your heart, your mind didn’t have to think much because of how easily it flowed. It was with the same person, but completely different outcome.
What made the difference? You, that’s what made the difference. It may not seem that easy, but it is. Into every conversation we can choose what we bring with us. Are you bringing your assumptions and beliefs about yourself and the other person? Likely you are. The thing is, so is the other person, but the only one you can do anything about is you. And that’s not always an easy pill to swallow. We tell ourselves that we have a right to feel what we do, to defend ourselves, to really be heard, and when that doesn’t happen, we can become frustrated (which is really just a code word for angry). And at that point, it’s game on. We’re no longer listening, we’re acting from a place of fear, or hurt. The reason? Only you know that, but those limiting thoughts are all of a sudden directing traffic in your head, leading you to make statements or comments that most likely lead the conversation off the cliff.
But take a deep breath for a minute. Think about the conversation that went well. I had a conversation recently that could have gone either way. It was with someone I cared about, but we’d had a conversation that didn’t go well in the past, for either of us. This time, I approached it from a place of seeking to understand. To openly share my heart, to receive the information shared without judgement. To connect at a heart level and listen, not defend. It was amazing! I’m finding that when I can connect like that the outcome is always better than when I pre-script in my head. Pre-scripting is based on assumptions and basically sabotages the conversation because I tend to go down the path I already had in mind, versus staying present in the moment.
What I’m finding is that when I can stay present, when I travel light, without my fancy baggage, or my script…when I lead from my heart…it’s so much better than anything I would have dreamed up on my own. My head…thinking…that gets in the way of my heart. And my heart has a lot to say. I’ll bet yours does too. It’s not always easy to stay connected to your heart, because your head wants to protect it. It tells you to defend, to stay safe, to stay away from harm…but those thoughts are limiting.
The next time you find yourself writing the script, the screenplay…take a breath. Listen to your heart. Connect with the other person, listen to their heart, remember that feeling you had when you walked away feeling light, at peace. At the core of it, you and your friend, your spouse, your family member both want the same thing. You both want to connect. So do it, use your memory of the amazing conversation and recreate that! Be open…be present…be brave…your heart knows the way.