Are there important conversations you’ve been avoiding in the relationships that matter most to you? What are they? What are you giving up by not stepping up? What are you gaining – is it enough?
In the coming weeks, I’m going to write about the common reasons women don’t speak up or confront the important conflicts. I want to challenge your thinking about the reasons you may be using to allow yourself not to step up. Let’s start right now.
Avoidance Reason #1: If I speak up about this, I’m afraid I’ll hurt the relationship instead of make it stronger.
Could be true, but I don’t buy it most of the time. Remember, we’re talking here about the conversations that matter most to you, not the little daily squabbles. If it matters to you, then by choosing not to speak up about it (domestic violence reasons aside, obviously), you’re contributing to a divide that is likely grow over time. If it’s real connection you want with the ones you love and with valued colleagues at work, avoiding is a sure-fire way to prevent it.
Mediators and conflict management coaches like me know about something called a "distancing spiral." Distancing spirals are just what they sound like: The more important matters are avoided, the greater the distance, which causes further avoidance of important conversations, and more emotional distance. The distancing spirals outward and onward. The great irony with the "I’m afraid I’ll hurt the relationship if I address this" concern is that if you honor your fear, you may well achieve exactly what you fear most.
Do you have a reason you avoid the difficult conversations in any of your important relationships? Drop me a note about it. I’ll keep your message confidential and will try to address you concern in an upcoming post.
The next post in this mini-series can be found at: Conflict Avoidance Reason 2: It Won’t Make Any Difference