Do you find yourself wanting to chat with people at an honest, real level yet can’t do it? Joe Rutland considers the power in having hard conversations that matter.
Is there a certain type of freedom in having an honest conversation with a trusted person? You bet your sweet ass there is.
When I speak of honest, I mean open, transparent, authentic, real, vulnerable and—at times—cutting loose with a curse word or two. Not at the person with whom the conversation takes place, but from one’s own point of view.
One thing that I have learned along my life’s path is the immense power of honesty. From my standpoint, there are two types of honesty: one is, well, honesty, and the other is brutal honesty. When to use what type is up to each person’s conscience.
I have had great experiences of dropping my guard and allowing other men and women, with whom I feel comfortable around, see me for all of my faults and failings.
No, I don’t “sit” in my faults … I’m simply allowing others to see them from within me and be vulnerable to show that yes, I do have scars from life.
What would the world look like if every man and woman, within a comfortable environment, were allowed and encouraged to be themselves without judgment?
Conversations can go many different ways. The ones that really matter involve sharing from a deep place within a human soul.
Looking another person in the eye and sharing what is on your heart can go a long way toward being honest, open and real.
If more people had the internal conversations within themselves, take those externally and open up their hearts with integrity and honestly, think of how many people’s lives would be impacted.
Instead of holding people up as “gods” and looking at them for perfection, you and I could see them in a simple way—as human beings. Are you familiar with the saying that a person is “a spiritual being living a human existence?” That might be a stretch for some, yet it is the lens through which I strive to see people. Especially those with whom I’d rather not have any conversations at all, and there are plenty of those.
I know that when I talk openly about issues that matter a lot to me that I strive to include many people in the conversation.
What can you and I do to increase that level of conversation? We can be the ones that break the ancient, archaic rules of not talking about anything that would upset others. Many people grow up in homes and environments where they were hounded and beaten down (literally and figuratively) for simply stating an opinion differently from the status quo. It feels like the status quo is what most people live their lives by. The immediate consequence of talking, and living, from the status quo only means that conversations which need to happen do not at all.
The ones that should have the impetus to reach out and ask others, especially in the workplace, how they are doing and if they need any support do not happen. In fact, some of these people are living out of their own trauma and biases. Who knows? Some of them may be in positions of authority and management and really don’t need to be there.
They are afraid to have honest conversations. I’m not talking about dragging someone in the office and berating them. That might have worked in the by-gone days of business. Not anymore.
There needs to be a new paradigm around conversations.
One suggestion is for men and women to own their shit. Own it. Get in touch with what drives their feelings and actions toward people.
Are times changing? Yes. There have been many strides made in interpersonal communication and people are learning different ways to communicate through hard conversations.
Still, there are hundreds of thousands walking around this planet who have no idea about how to do that very thing.
Imagine sitting with your wife or partner, maybe on the sofa or in the bed, and wanting to talk about issues that mean a lot to you. Pick a topic. Intimacy, love, sexuality, work, business opportunities … the list can go on.
Are you equipped for such conversations? Am I? Do I have my shit together in order to have the hard conversations?
Admittedly, I have moments where I shy away from them. I’m better than I used to be, but I do have a bit still to learn. Being 50 years old, a part of me—and it is an old message—states that I should know how to do this by now. But it just is not my reality.
I can learn and read all about having conversations that break through the shadows of the night into the bright light of the noonday sun. What do I want? I want to be able to have those honest and open conversations that really bring my heart and soul nearer to women and men.
I do have experiences where they have happened. I’m greedy. I want them to happen every day.
Photo: Erich Ferdinand/Flickr