What are the skills of Courageous Conversations?

Emotional regulation is a most helpful skill for courageous conversations.

Emotions will be raw and unavoidable when the issue we need to discuss is significant and maybe even sensitive. And that’s why it becomes a courageous conversation: precisely because the topic is so important.

So to have these conversations with skill, we need to learn about emotions- especially the difficult ones.

We need to learn to be ok with our own emotions, and how to regulate them so that we can manage our own state, and then express the emotion in a constructive way.

AND we need to learn to be ok with the other persons emotions, and their skill (or lack of skill) in regulating and expressing their own feelings.

And to develop the skill of emotional regulation, we need to have a framework to understand what emotions actually are. As they are really useful, even the uncomfortable icky, negative ones, and also they are just emotions.

To start to learn this, we start with knowing that emotions are a part of life, and they are our bodies way of telling us that what we are actually perceiving or experiencing in reality in front of us, is connected to our view of what we should or wish to be perceiving or experiencing this moment.

Many of us perceive emotions to be caused by the external “stuff” of our worlds – like in gaining or loosing status, a position, admiration of another, or just other people in general!

What’s actually happening is our body is registering a frame of mind that is being reinforced by or challenged by an external event.

Where emotions come in, is they are our body’s way of registering how accurate our frame of mind is. The more accurate our perception /expectation in our mind is, the closer it is to the actual reality, the more “positive” our emotions are that we experience. However, the more inaccurate our frame of mind is, the more “negative” the emotions that we feel.

Emotions are signals to us that there is a difference between our perception and our reality.  Hence they give us information that we can use.

Thus to start to learn the skill of emotional regulation, we need to see our emotions as signals that help us navigate through life.

For now, let’s be cognisant of the role emotions play in courageous conversations.

Q: What are some of the emotions you have experienced when having a courageous conversation?