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Aug 14, 2023

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The Power Of One Conversation


The power that just one conversation with the right person can have can be so underestimated and undervalued and under utilised.


So I wanted to talk about it today, consider us in a little (one sided) conversation right now. 


There are far too many people bottling things up for fear of judgement from others, their own self judgement of what reaching out to someone ‘means’ (for example, you’re weak or can’t cope yourself)


And that behaviour usually makes perfect sense when you take a little look back over various dynamics when you were growing up.


It can be parents, siblings, teachers, peers. 


We learn reasons that it’s not ‘safe’ to talk about our issues. It’s incredibly common.


It might be that you were always the one looking after people so you de-prioritised your own issues. It might be that you were taught you had to be the strong one for whatever reason. SO many things where it would make perfect sense why you’d learn to not share.


If you take a look back please, as always, remember to do it with compassion for yourself and not from a place of judgement, blame or shame.  Curiosity is your friend here over judgement.


Now, for context, sharing my problems was something that always came very easily to me.  


I’m an Enneagram 6 and I would always talk through any problems I had with other people because it helped me work it through in my mind and it always helped to say it out loud and hear other people’s perspectives.


This is why you always need to look at the nuance of any situation or behaviour because the same behaviour could be a result of totally different circumstances. We’re all individuals and we have to figure out OUR reasons for our programming. You don’t even have to KNOW the reasons to be able to identify the behaviour and change it. I just have found that to be the quickest route to self compassion and shifts in perspective for me, and my clients too. 


It can also shift based on your experiences later in life too.


I was in a situation for a long time where I felt like I couldn’t share my problems or what was going on for me. 


I couldn’t share what was going on for me for shame, embarrassment, fear of judgement, various stories around how I ‘should’ be able to handle it myself, all the things!


So I didn’t share, I kept it in. 


Guess what.


It was the worst thing I could have done and I honestly feel like I lost myself in that way for a number of years.


I’d keep everything to myself and that stress and anxiety would build and build until the inevitable moments where you feel broken and like all hope is lost.


Not fun.


I’m sure lots of you can relate to this.


It’s easily done.


So for me it was a behaviour I unlearned due to circumstance and had to RE-learn.


I had to change my stories around it and I had to put myself out there to change the pattern and make sharing ‘safe’ again.


If it’s a brand new behaviour for you too it will absolutely feel tricky at first to put yourself out there and say, ‘Hey, can I talk to you, I have some stuff going on.’


The people on the other side create stories too.


So this really does work both ways.


You might think that your strong friend not reaching out means they’re totally fine when they might not be.


You might think the person NOT reaching out to you might be being selfish when actually they have their own stuff going on.


So don’t allow the story to take over, ask yourself what else could be going on. 


We tend to protect ourselves and assume the worst, but more often than not there’s an explanation and being vulnerable yourself to say, ‘Hey,are you ok?’ instead of going straight to anger, hurt or cutting someone off.


There are also moments where we might isolate ourselves. Sometimes it can feel like you’re incredibly lonely, but you also don’t want to talk to or see anyone.


If I ever feel like this, like I did recently because there’s still quite the roller coaster going on in my world where it feels like limbo at every turn sometimes, I make a conscious effort to reach out to people who feel safe to me because I know how quickly something can turn around with one conversation.


So that’s what I did. 


I reached out and said, ‘Hey, I’m struggling a bit at the moment, do you have any time to talk or meet up?’


The trick is to know who your ‘safe’ people are. 


It’s easy to find excuses as to why you can’t. When you’re in self preservation mode you’ll always find a really good, rational reason.


That’s the trick sometimes…overriding what our unconscious patterns are telling us are good for us vs consciously knowing what’s best for us.


In the words of Brene Brown, there’s immense power in vulnerability.


You’re 100% allowed human moments!


But as with anything, you have to start small and allow the pattern of safety build up in your brain and nervous system.


That might be reaching out to one friend. It might be a counsellor or therapist, it might be a free service offered by charities like the Samaritans. 


Allow yourself to build up the experiences where being honest and vulnerable with someone helps.


The worst thing we can do is allow it to sit there and grow when it doesn’t have to.


One conversation has the power to completely shift your mood, your emotions, your perspective. 


One conversation can find you a solution when you couldn’t find one.


One conversation can make you feel validated.


One conversation can help you breathe a sigh of relief or have a much needed release.


One conversation can change everything in an instant.


One conversation can bring you an opportunity.


You just have to be brave and vulnerable and take that first step.


One conversation can create new possibilities that weren’t there before.


One conversation could get you everything you’ve ever wanted.


One conversation can ease your pain.


One conversation can show you all the stories you created to fill in the blanks in your head aren’t true.


One conversation can bring you closer to someone.


I’m sure listening to this you’re thinking of a tonne of conversations you’d like to have and for whatever reason may have stopped yourself.


Communication is everything. It really is the key to having what you want.  Yes it won’t always go your way. Yes there might be a little heartbreak or disappointment to contend with from time to time.


But you will learn hugely valuable lessons along the way.


And be honest with yourself, what’s the alternative?  What is not reaching out or being brave going to get you?


Probably not much better than more of the same right?


Honesty and communication is a winning combination and it really can just take one conversation to shift everything.