Should I Bring It Up?

A Guide To Navigating Difficult Conversations.

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In our complex web of relationships, there inevitably come moments when we face the choice to speak up or stay silent. These crossroads can appear at work, within romantic bonds, or among friends. The question lingers: should we have that potentially hard conversation? To navigate this profound dilemma, let's embark on a journey guided by wisdom drawn from Buddhist psychology.

To Speak or Not to Speak
The decision to engage in a difficult conversation can be daunting, especially in an era where the slightest misspoken word can spark unintended turmoil. That's precisely why the ancient wisdom of Buddhist psychology encourages us to ponder three vital questions before proceeding: Is it true? Is it important? Is it timely?

1. Is it true?

Before you begin, delve deep into the authenticity of your message. Is what you intend to express genuinely rooted in your beliefs and experiences? Avoid sharing thoughts that aren't a true reflection of your inner world. Likewise, when recounting stories or information, ensure they align with the facts rather than interpretation, assumption, or hearsay. Upholding the truth in your communication forms the foundation of any meaningful conversation.

2. Is it important?

Consider the significance of your message for both yourself and the other person involved. Will it serve your interests, providing a sense of relief or moving you closer to your goals? Equally vital, will it benefit the other party? Can your message aid them in attaining their objectives or save them precious time and effort? Weigh the importance of your words, carefully evaluating whether they truly need to be spoken. Sometimes, refraining from speaking can prevent unnecessary conflict and emotional turmoil.

3. Is it timely?

Timing plays an instrumental role in the success of your conversation. Reflect on whether the moment is ripe for the exchange. Hastily approaching a sensitive topic without considering timing can lead to misunderstandings or heightened emotions. Recognize that waiting for the appropriate moment can make all the difference in how your message is received.

Delivering with Loving Kindness
Assuming your message passes the first three criteria, you're now ready to navigate the heart of the conversation. Delivering your words with loving kindness entails a mindful and compassionate approach.

Here's how you can achieve it:

Step 1: Set Your Intentions

Before you speak, clarify your motives for the conversation. Why is it necessary to communicate this message? Ensure your intentions are rooted in genuine care and concern for the well-being of both yourself and the other person.

Step 2: Practice Empathy

Put yourself in the other person's shoes. Understand and acknowledge their perspective and emotions. Express empathy by saying, "I can relate; I've faced a similar situation before" or "I understand this may be challenging to hear."

Step 3: Offer Support and Solutions

Extend your hand in support and provide potential solutions or assistance. Ask, "What can I do to help?" or "How can we work through this together?" Demonstrating your willingness to collaborate can foster a sense of unity and understanding.

Nurturing Relationships with Wisdom

In the intricate tapestry of our lives, the decision to engage in difficult conversations is a powerful tool for nurturing healthy relationships. By upholding truth, assessing significance, and considering timing, you can ensure that your words are thoughtfully chosen. Moreover, by delivering your message with loving kindness, you can fortify your bonds, even in the face of challenging dialogues.

Remember, each conversation is an opportunity for growth, understanding, and the deepening of human connection. Approach it with intention, empathy, and a heart filled with kindness, and you'll be well on your way to fostering stronger, more harmonious relationships in every aspect of your life.

About the Author

Mark Shapiro has sent over 20,000 personalized appreciation videos and is the founder of LoveBomb. Inspired by his TED Talk - "The Art of Connection in a Digital World," LoveBomb is a connection calendar & social assistant that makes it easy to never miss birthdays and big days in the lives of people you care about.