“We need to talk” are four simple words that, depending on the context, signal a spate of reactions in the body. The talk can trigger deep-seated emotions that show up as a pit in the stomach, burning in the throat, weakness in the knees, and an overall instinct that something is wrong. Within seconds, a flood of thoughts take on a mind of their own, and a whole series of transactions take place in our body to protect us from being hurt. Whether we like it or not, difficult conversations are part of life. Unless we plan on living in solitude, it’s worth investing our time in getting good at having the talk.
The talk is oftentimes intimidating and complicated, but at the heart of the matter is a simple desire for understanding. It’s difficult to understand others, however, if we do not understand ourselves. For this reason, it’s important to investigate our own self-talk to fully assess how we’re feeling about the issues at hand. Self-talk is not just the thoughts in our head but rather all of the sensations, feelings, and emotions circulating beneath our skin. Becoming familiar with this internal information is an important first step in getting to know your inward tone, which speaks louder than your words.
Next, clearly define your intention by contemplating how you want the tone of the talk to feel. Take time to outline your key points and your desired outcome. Think less about finite goals and more about the potential for emotional growth. The idea is to frame the conversation in your mind’s eye and envision how you want to present your needs so that they’re received in the best light. Visualizing these things in your mind makes all the difference in the world on how you feel about them and therefore lightens their emotional impact—making it easier to keep a positive attitude.
On some level, and each in our own expression, we possess a profound need to understand the terms of an agreement in order to know where we stand and how to resolve any confusion or conflict. The talk itself, therefore, is neither good nor bad but rather a product of how we frame it. With the right tone, intention, and attitude, taking time to communicate your feelings offers an important opportunity to set boundaries, clear out undue expectations, establish priorities, and deepen intimacy. In the end, the talk isn’t easy, but it can make things simpler, clearer, and more honest.
- Get in touch with your heart. Before you have the outward talk, get in touch with your heart. Rub your hands for thirty seconds to build heat, then place your hands on your heart. Allow your touch to provide comfort and support to your vulnerabilities while recognizing your deepest strength. Sometimes just sanctioning the time to tune in and connect to your heart’s wisdom is the real secret weapon.
- Check in with the breath. Even when we’re clear about the words we need to say, our tone may say something entirely different. When things get heated, it’s important to stay aware of your vibe (the overall tone emanating from your body). The best tonal equalizer is the breath. When your tone wavers, check in with the rhythm of the breath as a reminder to stay connected with your wisdom, clarity, and truth.
- Mantra: Ask this question as a muse: What do I need to receive in order to create an inner tone that will support my intention? Allow several words and phrases to come to mind. Do not censor. Then choose one word or phrase as your mantra. Make sure that your mantra speaks to your heart. Imagine what it would be like to receive this mantra as a powerful feeling in your body. Recite your mantra (silently or out loud) any time you need a reminder to stay present and full of self-care.