I follow a lot of great accounts on IG. You can be sure that they stand for justice, peace, equity and humanity. But sometimes I just *can’t* scroll through my feed. I avoid it.
Because it’s a lot.
It’s a lot of constant outrage and intensity, and my nerves can’t take it.
“This is what’s wrong with ________.”
“Look what’s happening here, and look what so and so said about it.”
“Look at them, they’re doing it all wrong.”
A lot of ranting and righteous anger. And even though they’re right (I don’t follow people saying crazyness, of course!), sometimes it’s just too much. We have a bullhorn to preach to the choir and the ability to appear to take folks to task.
But have we gained any skills for having hard conversations in real life? Is this how we would interact in real life with the people we come in contact with? Do we know how to constructively respond when someone tells us that our approach is problematic?
In late 2023, I felt like I was having one hard conversation after another with people in real life — from educators and even with friends. Things I tried to ignore were no longer ignorable, and I had to speak up.
But these weren’t people that I wanted to be done with. There are some connections you don’t want to sever, but you know you have to say something, or else things won’t change. What do you do when you want to continue a relationship? You don’t want to quit the co-op or the team or drop the online class? You don’t want to stop, but you need the dynamics to change and for your voice to be heard.
So I did it. I said the things. Some of the conversations went really well, better than expected. They heard me. They saw my point. They pivoted. Others listened to me and saw my point but quickly pivoted to “There must be something wrong with you.” or “I didn’t realize she was so sensitive.”
If nothing else, these conversations gave me clarity. And I learned…
I learned that you can’t judge a relationship (business or personal) by the absence of conflict, mistakes, or tension. But instead, we can know a healthy environment by how we (and they) handle the tension and move forward after talking openly and honestly about difficult things.
And that, my friends, is my message for you as we move through 2024. Bravely enter into tough conversations, not so much online, but in real life.
I wish you the clarity that those conversations will bring.