It is easy for a conversation to get out of hand. One person reacts to another, and then that person reacts to the first. It’s a predictable cycle with a toxic nature and almost always declines in quality as it progresses. Around and around the exchange goes, the participants speaking more loudly, carelessly, and sometimes viciously with each downward rotation.
This cycle is equally toxic when the battle takes place inside us.
When we are in conflict, either within ourselves or with another, it helps to return to what I call our power position, which is to clarify for ourselves, “What I really need in this situation is… .”
To avoid that toxic spiral, mind your own needs and desires. If you can step back, take a deep breath, and check in to see what you actually need or want, then you will know what is driving you. You can get back to what you are trying to communicate in this specific situation.
If the conflict is with someone else, then by returning to your power position you are able to state clearly what you are asking of them. And honestly… isn’t that the greatest gift anyone could ever give us?
If you tell me what you want from me, then I can check in and decide if I can meet that need or not. It gives me a chance to say, “Yes, I can do that” or “No, that won’t work for me,” or if you’re really lucky, “No, that won’t work for me, but what about this…?” Everything is more clear, more manageable, if we know what we need.
The Catch: In order to ask for what you need, in times of conflict and otherwise, you have to know what you really need.