How do you respond to that feeling of discomfort that arises inside of you – as you have difficult or challenging conversations – or are hearing feedback that you don’t want to hear from people that you care about?

In my marriage – I used to have an automatic and instantaneous reaction to that feeling.  I could feel a visceral feeling of being wildly uncomfortable – and my instinct was to avoid the interaction or conversation by any means necessary!

Sometimes – that meant literally not responding.

Other times that meant shutting down emotionally.

Occasionally that would manifest through arguing with Abby – trying to justify my behavior (often proclaiming that I was misunderstood – or – that my intentions were good – so, why wouldn’t she give me credit for that??).

However – when I learned how to just stay quiet and pause – and then lean into the discomfort by asking myself what might I need to learn in this moment that would allow my wife to feel heard.

Or – where might I need to acknowledge that I failed – and apologize sincerely.

Or – what might I need to hear – and choose to learn from and grow through – so that my behavior and intentions actually created the impact and interactions that I wanted to have with Abby.

Learning how to lean into discomfort – and affirming my values as a husband and man – allows me to access a better range of choices to move forward with (and this is the case in all areas of my life).

Now – there are some people that might be toxic and who say things that require that you set a firm boundary with them.

But – for the people that you trust and value – more often than not – when they are sharing feedback or information that is hard to listen to – there is immeasurable value in leaning into that conversation and allowing yourself to learn and grow from what they have to say.

I know that this practice has allowed me to grow exponentially in my marriage, with my kids, my friends, professionally, and spiritually.

In fact, I value people who love me enough to be honest with me (I also value when people affirm me – but – the affirmation means more when I know that it’s genuine!).

So – I want to ask you to be mindful of how you feel internally the next time you are confronted with a difficult conversation with someone you love – and to pause long enough to not produce the automatic response – and then lean into having a discussion that might just lead to a significant breakthrough!!

Speak Your Mind


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