Being Mindful and Compassionate in Tough Conversations

Reflecting on the last year, there are many tough conversations that have started, are taking place in the present moment, and have yet to be had.

Tough conversations often create discomfort and can lead to avoidance. There may be reluctance to speak up due to fear of consequences. What will people think? How do I manage my own anxiety? Consider for a moment that remaining silent during tough conversations also communicates a message. What message do you wish to convey?

Having tough conversations, including conversations about racial inequalities and social justice is important as we share responsibilities in our responses, and act in alignment with our values. At CARE, we are committed to diversity and human rights; therefore, we seek to create space for dialogue while being mindful and compassionate.

As we encounter others within conversation, being mindful and compassionate can make a huge difference.

Here are Some Ways to Practice Being Mindful and Compassionate in Tough Conversations

• Recognize and embrace our common humanity.
• Take care of yourself to be fully present for others.
• Step outside your comfort zone and lean into discomfort.
• Focus on relationship building. This includes people who are different than you.
• Practice having intentional dialogue using interpersonal effectiveness skills.
• Listen to understand. Be patient with others.
• Hold space for others’ pain—their stories, others’ experiences, and viewpoints.
• Notice what is going on in your body.
• Practicing mindfulness and self-compassion, offering yourself and others loving-kindness.

Written By: Charlotte Johnson MA, LPCC 

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