Listen. Honor the person speaking. Speak one at a time. Do not use someone else’s speaking time as a time to formulate what you will say. Trust that it will be there for you when you need it. And, if you really listen to the other, what you need to say may change all together.
Speak for yourself. Resist defending, speaking or interpreting for others. Claim what is happening for you. Use “I” when speaking instead of “everyone” or “you.”
Take responsibility. No one makes us feel anything. We are not victims. How we react (or if we react) is a choice, unconscious or otherwise, based upon our assumptions, perceptions, judgments and pain which color our experience.
Breathe from your belly and notice. How are you feeling and how is your body responding to your present feelings? By noticing and allowing feelings they will unfold and pass naturally. By simply noticing and allowing, not reacting, you will remain in your body, centered and kind, both to yourself and the other. Best yet, you will listen and speak from an empowered awareness.
Stay in the present moment. Be aware of your own reactions and feelings when others are talking or when encountering others. Stay in the moment by using your breath. Breathe from your belly, letting the breath come up through your feet from the earth. This will keep you out of your head (the head is in the past and future) and in the present moment.
Check things out, avoid assumptions. Don’t assume you know what a loaded feeling word means for someone. It may not mean what you think. Ask questions to get underneath the word like, “Can you say more about that?” or “What is it like for you to feel _________?”
Avoid discounting. Discounting is a way of saying that someone should not feel as they do or be as they are. It is a judgment and it is often made because we are feeling uncomfortable and unsafe. Discounting dishonors the person and usually causes an abrupt halt to conversations.
Enjoy the silence. When you are in the present moment, entering or being in the space of another person can be a sacred experience. In conversation, silence offers a time to savor what was said and the feeling experience of it. If you need to break the silence, do so from a deeper place in yourself and not as an uncomfortable reaction to it.