When someone gets you upset, the ways that you respond can either calm you down or it can make the situation worse. To avoid putting gas on the fire for an already upsetting situation for you, it can help if you take a step back and think about what you want to say before you say it. Below are some practical steps on how to effectively communicate what you want to say and why.
- Write down what happened, stick to the facts. X happened and X was said
- Write down your interpretation of what happened. Notice any assumptions, exaggerations, or story your mind might have created. What does their actions or words mean?
- Next close your eyes and ask yourself how you really feel about what the person said to you. What is the underlying feeling that bothers you the most? Is it feeling of being misunderstood, disrespected, disconnected?
- Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself “what is going on in their life at this moment that may have lead them to say something to upset me?” Pain comes out of from when someone else is going through a tough time. This isn’t to justify for their behavior but to understand it. When you understand you are showing empathy and showing empathy means that you recognize that they are only human because you are only human to.
- Now ask yourself why is what you want to say. What is your point and intended outcome? Think about the results you really want. Are you doing this to create healing, resolution or closure so all parties can move forward? After all, what we really want is not to cause another person more pain but instead to cause our inner peace.
- Pick a few things that are most important to you that you want to communicate to the other person. While you may have other things you would like to say and it is easy to get lost in the mind when strong feelings are in play and you could lose sight of what you want to say as the conversation unfolds. Having a few talking points to help you stay on track