Learning How to BE in a Conversation
I’ve noticed a trend lately — not just in my own conversations but with others I witness or overhear. When someone says “I’ve got a personal boundary in place to keep me healthy” and that boundary doesn’t work for the other person they respond with a “You’re not the only one with stuff to do or who feels tired or who has a lot on their plate”.
These boundaries can include: available times and dates for work or activity, choosing to spend time with friends and families, making self-care a priority or choosing to charge a higher price for their products and services.
When the boundaries are in place to prevent stress, depression, exhaustion and maybe even self-harm, normally we want people to know they are not alone and that stress is unfortunately way too common but the tone the reply is in — that’s not comforting. It’s actually really damaging. It’s saying “I don’t care that you’re hurting/depressed/tired/stressed/or putting healthy boundaries in place to protect you from all of the above — you’re not doing what I want and therefore I need to put you in your place.”
I think part of it stems from the expectation that people can do it all (especially women) and that when things don’t go our way — our own exhaustion gets in the way of seeing where others are coming from.
We can’t empathize with others because we have stopped empathizing with ourselves. We don’t even give ourselves a break so how do we know when to allow others some room to create healthy boundaries?
I know when we are frustrated words come sometimes really quickly but with practice — we can give ourselves some breathing room to not respond back so quickly.
I’ve been trying to add 3 breaths before I respond back to anyone in a conversation — even when it is a brainstorming conversation. Give myself the space to really listen to the other person, let them finish their entire thought and then formulate my reply or next question. It’s probably not even long enough. I might get to 5 breaths soon. I will start letting the other person know when I am doing it though — I want them to know they have the space and time to BE in the conversation with me.
I want to give myself permission to BE in the conversation too.