Keeping Your Side of the Street Clean

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Lately many of my friends and clients have been struggling with having hard conversations. These are never fun but they’re essential in relationships. And my advice is always the same: Keep your side of the street clean.

What this means, essentially, is to be accountable for your actions and show up in a way you can be proud of. They say this a lot in program, where people for most of their lives haven’t lived by this at all. It is an important way of thinking when having tough conversations, and it is something I address a lot here.

When you are faced with a problem, be it ending a relationship, talking to a roommate about an issue you have with the house-keeping, whatever, it is important that you show up calm, honest, and open. When you begin a conversation with a deep breath, it will help the room to slow down and you can focus on the content of your argument.

My problem is that I tend to fly off the handle very quickly. I’m an extremely impassioned person, and when I feel strongly about something it tends to come off as anger. What I’ve had to work on is a softer approach, because as they say, you catch more flies with honey.

And coming at someone with an enraged argument is about as successful as managing a business with dictatorship. It doesn’t work. Across the board, people want to feel heard and cared for, and regardless of the context, if you jump at someone in a accusatory way, you will not get the desired reaction. In fact, you’ll create a picture where you are painted as the bad guy, and your whole end of the conversation will be for not.

So keeping your side of the street clean is imperative for your role in both sides. And why wouldn’t you want to walk away from a conversation being proud of how you showed up?

You can never know exactly how someone will respond. They may surprise you. But nine times out of ten, if you approach a human the same way you would like to be approached, you can turn that hard conversation into an opportunity for compassion and growth. So use Justice, let fairness and truth be your guide, and stay witchy  ( *)

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