“No, you don’t, but why wouldn’t you want to?!” “Why do I have to be the one to do it?” “Well, you are the one who is thinking about it, expending energy on it, and experiencing emotions because of it.” This is the conversation I would be having with you in regards to why it just might be better to pick up the phone and call, than to draft, write and ultimately send an email.
Being a life coach, I often coach others on communication and relationships, whether it be a romantic one, a family one, a co-worker or a friend. In doing so, I often have people tell me about the texts and emails that go back and forth between them and someone else about an uncomfortable situation. I then try my best to attempt to fill in the blanks or read between the lines using my intuition of a forwarded email exchange that already took place. Some clients will even go as far as sending me a copy of an email they just drafted in order for me to give them feedback on it before it gets sent, transpiring a very big potential mistake.
This happened just this morning with a client. I think it’s because what we say is so important, at least in written form, that we sit in front of our computer or hold our cell phone and toil over what we’re going to communicate. That process involves deleting information, rewriting it completely, or asking someone else to give us their opinion. I know, I know…yes I’ve done it too. I am not immune, after all I’m human.
So what are we afraid of? Ah yes, there it is again, the fear. It so often creeps in when we’re not looking. Okay so what if in our awareness of our fear, we start to realize how important this topic or this person is to us? Hhmmmm…so are you getting why it might be better to pick up the phone and talk with them?
Not yet, that’s okay. Let’s talk a little bit more about fear. I could go on and on about where fear comes but that’s another blog entry. So for now let’s just talk about how it can be used to inform us. Yes inform us. It is possible that your fear can be used to give you information about what scares you AND also what is important to you. If it wasn’t important, then what’s the big deal?
So back to the question of why it has to be you? The first and easiest answer is because you’re the one who is reading this not the other person. You now have this awareness and this information, they don’t. Also, why can’t it be you? Wouldn’t using this as an opportunity to grow and expand your capacities for having uncomfortable conversations be a good reason to at least try it?
Okay I will say a thing or two about fear. What we might be afraid of is saying something stupid, how the other person might react or what we might lose – more specifically maybe it’s because we don’t like feeling vulnerable. So rather than having a verbal conversation we instead proceed with a single direction, here let me spew my words and send it off to you so you can deal with it, and I don’t have to be there while you process what you just read…email or text.
Did you know it takes about the same amount of energy to experience fear as it does excitement? Really it does, so try this out. Picture in your mind something that you’re afraid of. Notice where that fear lives in your body and really experience the intensity of that fear. Now clear your mind. Okay now picture something that excites you. Notice where that lives in your body and how the intense energy of that thing you are picturing is creating an experience too.
So what would you lose by picking up the phone and calling this person rather than formulating an email or text? How about that fear. Yes the very thing that stopped you in the first place. When you face it and do the opposite of what it tells you, you’ve now proven something new to yourself, at least in this situation. Will it be uncomfortable? Possibly. So why not just communicate that to the person you’re calling. Such as, “….you know this is really uncomfortable and I don’t think I’m very good at this but I’m going to try it anyway because this is important to me, so….”
No one likes to be uncomfortable. We can also recognize that the uncomfortability is simply coming from us feeling vulnerable. A question I have is who ever said that being vulnerable is a bad thing? That’s another interesting question to explore another time too. Maybe it’s one of those “THEY said…”, not really knowing who “they” are.
I went to go look up the word vulnerable in my American Heritage Dictionary on my book shelf and funny thing, I guess “they” are so uncomfortable with the word that it’s not even in there. So I went to dictionary.com instead and you’re right. It does mean “being open and susceptible to being hurt or wounded”, but what if that wasn’t the outcome? What if the outcome was better than we thought it would be?
The better question then becomes “what would I gain?” By picking up that phone and being brave, you might gain the experience from having done it, you would also now have the confidence to possibly do it again. By visualizing ahead of time what your ideal outcome would be and how this conversation might serve you and the other person, you might also be creating the possibility of developing a closer relationship with them. If you are still having difficulty and you’re now realizing “YES, I do want to have that conversation!”, you could have a coach help you with developing the courage and revving up for the call. So in closing, you know where to find me.