Can you imagine having a heated conversation with your spouse or colleague and not having feelings of agitation, anger or defensiveness?
We’ve all be there, a heated argument that ended up about something that wasn’t even the point of the original conversation. Frustrated and angry, the argument ends and you walk away thinking, “that wasn’t even what I wanted to talk about”. How does this happen? It happens when we talk about things that raise emotions. When we can’t control those emotions – feelings get hurt and the goal to find common ground turns into the goal to be heard, to win and prove our point. No one is listening to understand, emotions have taken over and in the end, no change or influence has been made. But, how do we change it and have this happen less or not at all? It’s in our self-awareness.
The better we understand our fears, weaknesses, strengths, purpose…the better we can sort through our emotions – change our inner dialog and effectively communicate to positively influence crucial conversations.
Self-awareness is the secret weapon in life. It allows you the ability to impact situations, influence people, stay calm, stay on topic in disagreements, stand for what you believe in and have stronger relationships. Self-awareness has to start with you and your inner dialog. You’ve heard the saying “you can’t control anyone but yourself”, but do any of us even really try to control oursevles? Our inner dialog can cause a lot of hurt for ourselves and the people we are trying to talk to. It can often time makes ‘lies’ into truth and cause us to change the direction of the conversation onto our hurt feelings instead of the real topic at hand. For example, You’re in a heated disagreement with your spouse – He says something that hurts your feelings. In your mind, you start thinking “that was so mean I can’t believe it”, “he is such a jerk”….Now you’re no longer concerned about what you were talking about, you’re focused on your hurt feelings and negative inner dialog. Your husband has now become a ‘villain’ that needs to be defeated. Ever been there?
The truth in that situation is that your husband probably didn’t intend to hurt you, he is probably trying to make his point the only way he knows how to in that moment. So, how does that go differently? First, when you want to have the hard conversation you have to go into it with the goal of finding common ground and be so committed to finding common ground that nothing can throw you off course – especially our feelings and inner dialog. Second, keep it safe for both people in the conversation to be open and honest without getting feelings involved. And Third, agree to both listen to understand not listen to defend. It will take work, but remember, you can only control you – so follow through on this plan even if the other person isn’t.
Personal growth and development has become one of my favorite things in life. The more I learn about myself, the more I understand and love myself. The more I learn about my emotions and the choice I have to control them or let them control me. The more I can positively influence my family, work, and life direction. Personal growth and improved self-control is a constant practice. Learning about yourself, having a desire to improving your weakness and using more of your strengths can only happen if you know who you are and where you want to go.
Here’s where you can start:
- What are your likes and dislikes
- What things cause you to let emotions rule
- How do you typically respond in an argument
- What do you like about your personality
- What are your favorite characteristics about yourself
- What are your strengths
- What are your weaknesses
- What are your fears
- What is your purpose
- What are some of your insecurities (as a woman, mom, wife….)
1 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of Power, Love and self-control”
These are within us, but without self-awareness, we can’t harness these gifts, because we are living timid, afraid to speak, lost…. Without self-control, there is no power or love for you or anyone else.