Courageous Dialogue – be a “Front Stabber”

I have just finished a class for our Sydney therapist mentoring on our theme of speaking our truth with love. We did the class based on a blog by Karen Salmansohn, which can be seen here.

In it she terms the phrase a “front stabber”, meaning a loved one who stabs you in the front, by letting you know when you have been inappropriate etc, rather than run off and tell everyone else. I love that phrase!

In the article she talks about reasons we hold ourselves back from telling loved ones our truth. Ranging from fear of being rejected, fear of change and vulnerability, to low self-esteem.

She then goes on to give a list of tips to guide courageous dialogue:

Pick the right time and place

Use a compliment sandwich – we discussed in our group that the key to this is not just saying a positive thing,  that it needs to be a heart-felt genuine compliment. And I added that stating a positive intention for the relationship is really helpful. e.g. when I have these conversations with my husband I let him know at the beginning that my intention for our relationship is to move into deeper intimacy with him, and I want to align everything with that intention. I find this helps us both be clear, that what is to be discussed is not a dump, but a constructive discussion with the aim of creating intimacy.

Let the other know it is only your truth – be open and ready to think “maybe I was wrong”, this stops us being so fixed and having an unconscious agenda. Asking questions is always good for this too. Seeking to understand before being understood.

Use “I” instead of “you” and avoiding blame in the conversation. I like to bring issues to the table for both of us to work on, and find if the other feels empowered in this way in the situation the other often comes up with much better answers than the ones I had thought of.

Speak from your heart – I like to practice tricky conversations out loud in my room in private before I actually have the conversation. I find that way I iron out the creases and refine the wording and the energy to be exactly as I would like it to be. I also find in these “run throughs” that I may have a good cry, get words caught in my throat and clear other stuck energy, so when I say it in real life the energy is much clearer and my wording more eloquent and representative of what I want to get across.

Some things to ponder are:

How do we receive negative or painful feedback?

Do we shut down energetically, leave our body or not be able to hear what is being said?

Are we projecting these negative experiences onto others?

How can we receive and give “negative” feedback in an empowered and loving way?

I will blog about each separately over the next week or so as I think this is a great topic to spend some time on.

Comments and insights are very welcome as usual!