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164 How To Say Hard Things

by Claudine Sweeney
January 18th 2023

There are times in our lives that we have things in our heart that need to said but can feel quite hard. Some of us have no problem saying hard things and some of us do anything to avoid saying har... More

you're listening to the Rise up and Shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids. We have both shared very similar and very real struggles from chaos to coaches. We now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the Rise Up and Shine podcast. Welcome back listeners to episode 1 60 for today. We're gonna talk about how to say hard things, this is just part of life. We have to have conversations at times with our spouse, our kids, our adult kids, our co workers, our friends, you name it. There are times when we have things that are on our heart that we want to say, but it just feels hard, it feels hard to say it and we can spend so much time looping in this cycle of should I shouldn't I?

And getting all caught up emotionally in it. So today we're gonna talk about and share some practical on how to say those hard things and of course ultimately protect the relationship and keep the connection um and love their So Ashley, have you ever had to say a hard thing to someone? Oh, all the time. All the time. It is part of parenting and is part of it comes with the territory of any relationship, right? And especially, well I'll say any relationship that will have true intimacy and honesty and connection and depth because I did live lots of my years of marriage and even just life avoiding saying hard things because I was the peacekeeper and I didn't want to be a burden or I didn't want to ruffle any feathers or cause any conflict. I am very anti confrontational. And so I would avoid it at all costs.

But it built up and built up and led to depression lead to health issues, led to, um, just uh, not living my life to the full and very authentically. And I was thinking about it preparing for this that like why do we avoid it? You know, I mean thinking more uh, like self reflective, why did I avoid it for so long and why do I still have the tendency to avoid it? And it's because we tiptoe. You know, I mean, it just, that was the way that I would word it just, I would tiptoe tiptoe around people's feelings, people's opinions, people's judgments either towards me or even the confrontation. You know, I didn't want, I wanted to live at peace. Everyone get along. Everything is all sunshine and rainbows and unicorns and sparkles. And but that is not reality. And so I was very unequipped, ill equipped, I guess is the better term to handle those hard conversations and it really took a toll on my marriage.

And it also took a toll on my role as a mom with my own Children in their younger years because I didn't know how to address it right? Because I was tiptoeing around everybody's feelings and everybody's moods. So I think this is such a great topic, Claudie um because it's so common, so many of us try to avoid having those hard conversations, whatever it may have. You know, whether it's sharing our own feelings about something, whether it's hurt feelings, sharing something that frustrated us, even sharing vulnerably about who we are can be hard as well. So there's so many things, you know, so many different ways that we will avoid at all costs. It's so true and I think it is really common. I two is very difficult and still can be depending on the person, it can be very difficult to say those hard things and I think you're right, you know, when we don't say those things, when we hold them in, if it's really something that's on our high and then we don't say, and we hold it in, it really does a lot of damage to ourselves, right?

I mean it does lead to um anxiety and depression and then especially if the outcome, like maybe if it's with like I have adult Children, so I don't speak up and say some of the hard things and we'll talk more about what is what things we should say and shouldn't, but then, you know, something happens, then I'm gonna feel guilt, right? Because I didn't speak up. And so there is there's a lot of times when we don't do it where it's damaging for our well being and you're right, we avoid it, I avoid it because I fear the other person's reaction, right? I think, well if I say something hard, they might come right back at me and attack or, you know, say even harder things to me, which it's so funny in my experience, that's not the way it's happened. Right? Build a story, don't we build Story story? Like this is exactly how it's gonna go. I'm gonna say this and then they're gonna say this and then I'm but we always think the worst, I say 99% of the time we think the worst this is the worst possible thing that's gonna happen.

And how many times have we said that thing and it went so well and we just created this whole story and caused so much angst and anxiety that was so unnecessary and our brains are wired to do that right there to keep us safe and they have a negative bias. So it's that's why we always go to worst case scenario, right? I don't know why, like, same with anything, whether it's saying hard things or doing a task, my brain is like, oh, it's gonna be so hard. I never, I'm like, oh my gosh, everything's gonna be so easy and smooth. I mean, sometimes on occasion, on rare occasion, I think this is gonna be so easy. Usually this is my hopeful thinking with technology, this is gonna be so easy. And then it's like, oh yeah, this wasn't that easy, but like you said, claudine, sorry to cut you off. But like you said, our brain wants to keep us safe, right? So it's a very primitive way of being and surviving because our brain is like, oh, danger, don't, don't go there, this is gonna be such a dangerous situation, This is not good for you.

And even based on all of our experiences over our, our lifetime, it just all compounds together and then it creates this fixed fictitious scenario of what might happen and we created to be this big danger and threat that it doesn't really have to be. But again, it's it's not that you have something wrong with you, right? Cause I used to think that, gosh, something is wrong with me how so many other people can just say things so easily and it's so hard for me. I mean I've had that thought, but I've also learned that well my brain is doing its job. I have to acknowledge that it's okay. Like this is very normal. It's very human of me to deal with this mental anguish by building this story to try to have this safety right? Because we do like, we are as humans, very good storytellers and we can create such a scenario. Um but just being aware of that will really help us take those steps to practicing.

I like to say practice because it's not gonna be, oh I did it great, I'm all healed and anybody, it's practice and it's kind of growing that muscle right? It's a skill, it's a skill that we can learn and develop and grow. Yeah, I totally agree. And it's, we talked about this a few weeks ago, I was sharing conversation I had with my husband how he didn't like the way I had a certain conversation with one of our Children and I was able to respond real quickly in the moment I was able to share the truth, which was kind of hard like for him here because I felt like that conversation, what he expected was not what I gave out, but that was really on him, not on me and it went really well and I do feel like it is a skill that my little saying hard things muscles is starting to grow and it's great because as you start to grow it and you have more successful conversations and you can fall back and go well no, the last time I had a hard conversation it actually went really well and so I'm gonna expect this one to go just as well or better, you know, we can train our minds to think that like no, here's the truth.

The last one went well and there are different kinds of hard things right? There are things that we have to their conversations, we have where we see something that concerns us with someone we care about a hard conversation can also be something we've done, like saying an apology or if we've messed something up confessing something like hey, I really blew this right. That can be a hard thing that we need to say. There's all kinds of hard things that you know, we don't want to have those conversations because we just want to protect like you said the piece, right, I just want, if I say this it may not go well, but the truth of it is when we don't, when we avoid it, then it's going to create even more problems because we're not living in our truth, we're not being authentic and vulnerable and we're stuffing a lot and you know, stuffing emotions never turns out well ever ever ever stuffing things not help us rise up and shine and live our best lives, right?

You know, I was thinking that especially in our generation, we were kind of taught Children are to be seen not heard, you know? And so this even now grown up in adulthood, we have this mentality and so it's the result of kind of culture teaching us those things, right? Rather our parents or grandparents actually said those things as or not, that was kind of the culture, you know, I mean feeling our feelings, communicating how we feel was not the norm where we have grown leaps and bounds since that day, but it still has affected us right into our adulthood. So I'm sure even having some of that conversation with your, your adult Children, that's still kind of is a factor there, right? A factor in having like preparing for that conversation. You know, it's kind of funny when you think about it, but it's very true. It's we just kind of go along like go along with whatever, you know, say do what we need to and again, it's not being vulnerable, it's not being true to ourselves or you know, honoring our own boundaries, our thoughts, our opinions, we just kind of put our opinions and views to the side to do the good that someone said we should, you know, or and kind of live according to someone else's map, you know, life map, I guess you can say so I think that's really interesting to recognize, I know it was really helpful for me just understanding that this goes way back.

You know, I mean, it's not like learning to build this new skill or grow this skill, give yourself grace, you know, I mean we've been culture has taught us so much, culture has taught us that it's you know, crying is a weakness or you know, don't don't express yourself too much or you know, just kind of fit into this mold and so it affects every relationship in our lives, right? I mean, so we will avoid saying those hard things because we want, we didn't grow that skill that muscle, right? We didn't practice enough and to we really care, we really do deeply care about what people think, you know, I mean, we are social beings, God created us that way. And so we want to live in harmony and unity and at peace with others. And so we think, and we believe that well, if I just keep my mouth shut, then we will be able to keep that peace when in actuality it does the opposite.

It doesn't allow us to have real connection and depth and and vulnerability with each other and rising up and shining, you know, and being, who God created us to be right and living that life to the full It really it affects all of those areas in our life. So true. One of the things you said is boundaries and I think, you know, we have to examine our why, why do we want to say this hard thing? And I find it falls in several categories. One is communicating a boundary and that's for our well being, and that's another scale. And we've done episodes on that and you can look back and see, but a boundary is communicating and it's hard sometimes to communicate those boundaries, especially if it's yet again, another skill that we have to learn how to do, but that's for our well being and another thing. Another why would this be important to commune kate is a legitimate concern that we have for the well being of someone else and that's more than my opinion, right?

Like I don't need to go spouting off the truth about everything that I believe to be the truth, right? Like if I hate red dresses, it wouldn't be, you know, it wouldn't benefit anyone for me to go around and go, wow, why are you wearing that red dress? It's so ugly. I mean, that's just my opinion. It may, it may be hard to say, but it's not necessary. And obviously sometimes for those people that say those things, it's not that hard for them to say. I had one child growing up that was like, I'm just speaking the truth. I'm just speaking the truth. You told us to always speak the truth, but it was really hurtful things, right. That child's desire to quote unquote speak the truth was just saying more really opinion things, their opinion of what they saw or thought. Um, and we're gonna give you some more practical here in a minute. But really, unless it's for the well being of ourselves or others, we have to question our why why do we even want to have this conversation? I think that's an important question to ask ourselves whose well being is going to be protected because we want to protect ours and others.

Yeah. Just spout off at the mouth just to say things, right? Right, Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Why don't we share some practical? Because I do think, you know, we can say hard things and we can do it in a way that honors both parties ourselves and whoever we want to have these conversations with. Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So number one release the fear I know this is easier said than done. Trust me. In the past, I have communicated how I feel, try to be honest and vulnerable and try to communicate my boundaries right? Honor my boundaries and maybe it wasn't well received and so maybe I would shut down. All right. I'm never doing it again. It was terrible. I'm not gonna do that ever again now if we do that honestly right. In one regard, it seems like, okay, yeah, that was that was bad.

Maybe I shouldn't, you know, and it seems accepted I guess like we can justify to just not communicate ever again, but at the same time, it's important to remember every situation. Every relationship is different. Even if someone in your past rejected your vulnerability or your quote unquote hard thing you had to say, then that's a reflection of where they're at in their life experiences. It's not necessarily personal. And don't let that build that fear and keep you from keep trying to express yourself and and share vulnerably and honestly, and you know, again, whether it's honoring our own boundaries or whether it's for the well being of another. It's still important to keep doing that. And so that fear will just inevitably build up, but we don't want to let it hamper us from and keep us from saying those hard things, you know, so just remember that the past let the past be in the past, if that happened before, it definitely did.

For me, there are times in my past where I would share how I was feeling and I would be given guilt in return and that that was really hurtful. And so I did. I think that was a huge factor in why I just shut down. I was like, all right, I'm just keeping all my thoughts and opinions to myself. No one wants to hear anyway. But then on the same token, I've had friends who said, hey, like you don't, like, you don't really share things with me, I want to know, how are you doing and what, what are you thinking and what do you like to do or you know, what are your thoughts and opinions? And it was really interesting to see that contrast, you know, because of me letting the fear get in the way. And so many of us do that. And part of part of releasing that fear is allowing ourselves to accept the discomfort. So if it isn't necessarily well received that, that's okay. It's not a reflection of who we are as a person. You know, we're saying it from, you know, a place of being genuine and care for others or our relationship and so accepting that hey, I might not always go the way I wanted to, but that's okay.

They are allowed their own thoughts, their allowed their own opinions, their own judgment. Even if they don't like it, it's okay. It's okay. Yeah. Well I love what you said about releasing fear and it brings us to practical number two, because I think that scripture says perfect love drives out fear. And our second practical is say it with love, right? Love is gonna help if we know if we're confident that we're saying it in love, not out of anger, not out of fear, insecurity, but really center ourselves on love. How can I show this other person love and myself love, right? When I say when I say this hard thing or have this hard conversation that's going to release a lot of that fear and say it with love. I think of the past two, it says, love is patient, love is kind, right? If we're gonna have a hard conversation, let's be patient with the other person and ourselves. Let's be kind. Let's make sure we use kind words and really one of the most important ways to say things with love or in love is using I statements and not you this, you that that was I think for me the hardest lesson to learn early in my marriage.

Everything was well, you this, you that you know when you, you know it's a skill to be learned like I need, but it was always like you just threw your socks on the floor and you know, and of course I created a whole story about it and then communicated it all in you statements which was not loving and so really um say with love, say it with patience and kindness and peace and use your i statements, it's so important to have those difficult conversations that are couched on both sides that are surrounded in love. You know when we come from a place of love. Yeah, that's good. And that actually feeds really well into the last practical affirm the relationship in the positive. I actually have a personal experience with this one this last week, as you can tell I was sick and I lost my voice quite a bit but my husband, I had a conversation with a conversation with him one morning and I just was share and that I'm kind of feeling like you're not really comforting or like you're not really being comforting or sympathetic towards me being sick.

I feel like you're kind of still expecting me to do a B and C or B. Super talkative or you know, I forgot fully how the conversation went but along those lines and and he got hurt because then he started saying, well I feel like I've been trying really hard to encourage you and went to the store trying to find cough drops for you. They didn't have them. I went to a different store to get him for you? I made you dinner. I did, you know, trying to help with the kids. So in his mind he was trying to do these nice things and this all kind of came down to our different love languages. You know, it's not even like what he's not doing or you know, what he is doing, but it really came down to how we each feel or show love and so, and, and I felt bad. I thought, oh my gosh, I did, I didn't acknowledge, hey, I really appreciated when you did these things. Uh, one thing if I may ask, could you be a little more sympathetic like and how you talk with me or you know, maybe just come over and give me a hug or rub my back or just little things like that.

And instead I just went in for what I felt like he wasn't doing and he communicated it really well. You know, he communicated, hey, next time could you just maybe affirm those positive things that I was doing because he felt like he wasn't doing it enough. You know, he's, I'm trying my best and it's never good enough and I totally related to that, right? How many of us have. So that's a personal experience like when we have something that's difficult to say and we know it might kind of be a, a tense conversation affirmed that positive because when you look to the other person, hey, what are they doing? What have they done? Then you'll see it, you, we'll see it. But again, like what we tend to do and what I did in this situation, I was looking at what was missing, what was I not getting from him. And so being able to affirm the positives first before kind of coming in with that speak the truth and love part will really help just keep the relationship intact too and hopefully prevent her feelings and any real conflict that may be unnecessary.

And again, this even goes with our kids. We've had to do this with our kids so many times like hey, I really appreciated when you did this and this. Would you mind being able to do this also or you know, could you not complain about doing the chores every time? But hey, I really appreciate you doing your chores and helping us out. I would really appreciate also if you did it with maybe less complaining. Yeah. Right. What I need is less, well, you made a great point to in that is when your husband shared his perspective and that's really important, whether we count it as a practical or just a bonus here, but willing to hear the other person's perspective, right? Like we can share the hard things we have to say, but we also have to be open to their response, right? Not fear, it not be fearful that they're gonna judge us or be mad at us, but even ask, hey, what do you think about what I'm saying? And be willing to hear their perspective, right? Because we say comes from our perspective and our center, right?

It's centered around us and um even if we have something difficult to say, having that willingness to hear their perspective, what did you hear me say? How do you feel about that? Um those kind of things? It's, first of all, it's humility, right? We can never go wrong with being humble, more humility the better, but just that willingness to hear what they have to say, not fear it, but just go, you know what? I can hear what they think and see and feel as well. Yeah, Oh, that's so important. If it's especially a relationship that you want to hold dear and close, right? Keep intact. There needs to be that both sides and a lot of times what happen is sometimes when we communicate the hard things, it's not always heard the way we intend. And so just following up and asking, how do you feel about what I'm saying? What what did you take from that? You know, what are you hearing me say? And just understanding? Because again, then you can clear up any miscommunication misunderstanding and be willing to listen to the receiving end, you know, and their response, I think that's huge, definitely.

That's definitely a bonus one. And ultimately we're trying to protect our well being and the well being of those we care about. That's the ultimate right? So yeah, this is really important to learn how to say the hard things when why how all of those things that's super important and Ephesians four teaches us to speak the truth and love. And I do think that's easier said than done. And hopefully these practical today we've been able to share will be helpful to those of you that know, you have hard conversations to be had with someone you care about and you want to protect the connection and the love and the goodwill between you and the other person. Well this is not a hard thing to say, but this is the end of our podcast today. We hope you got something good out of it and that it will help you rise up and shine and live life to the full until next time. Take care. Alright, everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation today here on the rise up and Shine podcast.

If you haven't already, please take a second to hit that subscribe button. So you never miss an episode. And while you're at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today if you want to visit us as well on our web. Besides, you can catch Claudine over at Claudine Sweeney dot com and Ashley at mind over chaos dot com. Our links are in the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.

164 How To Say Hard Things
164 How To Say Hard Things
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