When I am feeling secure and at peace with my world, I can have any conversation that I feel needs to be had, regardless of how difficult I perceive the conversation to be. I don’t stress. I don’t get anxious. I don’t avoid it. I just do it, and I mostly do it well.
When I am feeling insecure or I am suffering internally in some way, I am the opposite. I stop communicating. I worry. I give up. The conversation that would serve me best doesn’t happen. Interestingly, the people I don’t communicate with in those moments are often the people who are most able to help me. This creates additional frustration and suffering, because I leave important words unsaid.
And here’s the thing…
Every conversation that we have creates something that didn’t previously exist.
We get work done through conversation.
We arrange social events through conversation.
We develop relationships and trust through conversation.
We create possibilities through conversation.
We share information through conversation.
We change the course of our lives through conversation.
Yet, conversation can be a thing that we deprive ourselves of when we need it most.
When we don’t have a conversation, something new is not being given the possibility of being created. Something old – often something that causes us suffering – remains. And so we have missing conversations, where everyone makes their own meaning of the world and that meaning is not given a chance to be clarified or challenged. Any suffering that existed continues to exist.
How do we change that?
The following questions can be useful in understanding the conversations that are missing:
- What conversation am I not having that would be useful for me to have?
- Why did I choose not to have that conversation?
- What do I want to create that isn’t being created without this conversation?
In attempting to understand why we aren’t having a conversation, it can be useful to understand what is happening for us linguistically, emotionally and physiologically. We are not always taught to pay attention to these areas, yet it is the interrelationship between these three domains that can limit or expand the possibilities for action that we have available to us. It can be useful ask ourselves the following questions, from curiosity and without judgment:
- What am I saying to myself about this conversation?
- What moods and emotions accompany my stories about the conversation?
- What body posture, breathing and sensations am I experiencing when I think about having the conversation? What would be more useful?
When we come to understand what is underpinning our reluctance to have a conversation, we can come to understand what might be useful in allowing ourselves to turn the situation around. Perhaps a shift in our story is required, or a shift in mood/emotions, or a shift in how we are holding our body. We won’t know that if we don’t seek to understand what is happening for us.
Recently, I noticed myself closing down conversation with others. It occurred to me that I was operating from a mood of resignation and was dropping the conversation because I didn’t see the point and didn’t want to be seen as complaining. Yet, why couldn’t I see the point and why did I think that I would be seen as complaining? What conversation could I have that might get the message across, would achieve an outcome, yet didn’t feel to me as though I was complaining? When I answered that question, I created the possibility for a very useful conversation that opened a whole new world of possibility – one that I didn’t think existed.
What conversations are you not having that might be useful for you to have?