A former mentor once shared the following: If she had a conversation with someone that left her feeling uncomfortable or "off" in any way, she would go talk with the other person if she still felt that way after five minutes. FIVE MINUTES! Since that day I have aspired to be an individual who has that much clarity and fluid communication skills. However, given that I have been a lifelong "wait-it-out-and-see"-er (hours, days, weeks - sometimes months!), this has not come naturally to me.
Of course I'm really good at preaching the concept! I can be heard every now and then telling my boyfriend "Better Out Than In!" (Which in this house of teenage boys can also refer to farting, but conveniently applies to talking about what's bugging you too!)
The truth is that just because someone has the skill and intuition to be able to know when they're hanging onto something for too long, not all of us have to meet that "five-minute" mark. Yes I think it's wildly helpful and stress-alleviating to talk things out sooner than later . . . but it's something that doesn't come easy to most of us. When I think about the "why" behind the history of my reluctance to talk about hard things, it mostly had to do with fear of being mis-understood, saying the wrong thing (& not being able to "un-say" it), and the potential for conflict. I used to love to write things out in letter form. That way I could tinker, tinker, and tinker some more until it was perfect (whatever that meant!) At the end of the day, when it came to talking about anything remotely confrontational, I honestly just didn't know HOW!
So . . . I am going to share with you one of my favorite communication tools - which completely changed my life. See Exhibit A: The Awareness Wheel!
Here's an example of how you might use it:
I noticed you weren't talking to me earlier
I think it's because you had a bad day.
I feel hurt and ignored.
I want to talk with you about it.
So I'm bringing it up and hoping we can do better in the future.
OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
A few things to note that might help you get the hang of it:
1. This diagram shows "I observe". I like "I notice" better. Up to you.
2. It's very common for people to use the phrase "I feel like . . ." instead of "I feel". The truth is that "I feel like . . ." really means "I think" - so watch out for that trap! Also, you can't feel like bodily functions, so stay away from saying "I feel sh*tty".
3. The Awareness Wheel can take some time to master . . . practice is the key to success!
Here's your prompt for today:
What is your feedback turnaround time? Is it always the same? Or does it depend on the person and situation? Do you have something you might be able to navigate using The Awareness Wheel?
I'm a big fan of the ease and relief that comes from talking things out, and not giving hard conversations too much mind-share. I hope The Awareness Wheel will help you do the same!
Love and Light,
Meet me here on Saturdays for some weekly vibes - honoring the week that has past, and clearing the way for what's new. Gather your journal and favorite pen, along with a hot cup of coffee/tea/chai - and settle in for 30 minutes dedicated to YOU.