April 14, 2016

“We Need to Talk.” Being Vulnerable & Authentic during Tough Conversations.

conversation coffee

In everyday life, we have an endless amount of conversation. Some trivial, some meaningful, most mundane.

“How are you?”

“Good thanks, how are you?”

“Good. Thanks.”

Like robots on autopilot, we miss the opportunity to give ourselves what our heart truly desires. Connection. To feel like we belong and are a part of something much bigger than ourselves.

Then there are those life changing conversations. Those conversations that reveal to us our own vulnerability and bring about feelings of anxiety and dread. They have us screaming and running for the hills, as it is much easier to deny ourselves than to feel the uncertainty that accompanies ownership.

Those life changing conversations are about one thing and one thing only: our own feelings.

It doesn’t matter how far we’ve come in our personal growth and development—that moment we need to sit someone down and tell them how we feel is confronting. We are exposed, raw, open and unable to determine where this will take us or what will happen.

I have experienced just this. An intensely emotional expression of my heart, soul and mind.

After months of denying my feelings for someone, I leaned into them. I allowed myself to acknowledge what I was feeling, the validity of my emotional response and what it meant for the current status of our relationship. In the past, these feelings would send me into people pleasing mode. I would have tended to his every need, praying he would notice me. Giving him my heart and soul before evaluating whether he was even deserving of it. Proving my own worthiness to him for any scrap of attention and love. However, this acknowledgment had me stepping into a conversation that would change the way I saw myself for the better.

From owning my feelings, I made the incredibly difficult decision to bring them to the table. I sat, straight across from this person, feeling intensely vulnerable and completely transparent. My voice shook, I stumbled on almost every word and it took everything I had not to cry.

Emotions bubbled to the surface, not out of hurt or upset but out of fear. Fear of rejection, fear of inadequacy and fear of being unlovable. A small voice inside of me begged me to stop talking, requesting that I stay quiet and just accept what he was giving out. It took all the courage I had inside of me to push past this resistance. To the best of my ability at that time, I communicated my feelings. I expressed my desires, my needs and my wants.

Did it go exactly the way I would’ve liked? Absolutely not.

But after the dust had settled I realised that for the first time in my life I respected myself. I showed myself that I have my own support and love and that I know deep inside of my own soul that I deserve what I want—and I don’t need to settle.

So what to do when you need to have “the talk?”

Firstly, identify what it is you are feeling. When we attempt to have a conversation with someone while unable to fully grasp what our feelings are, it leads to confusion and a whole lot of back and forth. Simply ask yourself, what are my feelings toward this person? How do they add to my life? What do they give me?

The next thing to do is write it all down. Unfiltered. Every single word you wish to say to someone. It doesn’t matter how crazy your mind says it is. Write it all down. All of what you want, all of what you don’t like, all of the hurts and all the pain. Everything. Read back over what you wrote and pull out the major points. Ask yourself, what is the biggest message I want this person to receive?

Then let it go. Crumple the piece of paper. Burn it or tear it into tiny pieces until it is no more.

After the writing, you will have some idea of what you want to say. As you enter into the conversation, call in on your reserve of strength. What you need to say will reveal itself to you in the right moment.

If we drop the act, identify our true feelings and express them in each moment, we are on the way to creating a bountiful life. One filled with genuine connection and authenticity. Our innate need for emotional connection can only truly be met in those moments of intense vulnerability—where we are raw and unscripted—giving others the chance to see us as we truly are.


Author: Elle Phillips

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Marty Hadding/Flickr

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