Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fierce Conversations

Back in February, I borrowed Fierce Conversations, written by Susan Scott,  from my friends Jeff and Tara.  They used the book at their church's marriage retreat, and to prepare, had engaged in their own fierce conversation about their marriage.  Because I'm Jeff's supervisor as well as friend, they sent me their notes from their conversation.


And "Whew!" was what folks at their retreat said as well after they shared from their experience.

A week ago, I went through books on my shelf while looking for 2 books I never found.  Instead, I found Fierce Conversations, felt guilty that I'd held the book hostage for 6 months without even cracking it open, so decided I would read the first chapter.

Needless to say, I finished the whole book.

Now I generally think I'm pretty good at having open/honest conversations.  Being open and truthful about my own life, plus challenging folks to be open and truthful about their own lives has probably been the main hallmark of my ministry over 21 years.

But this book makes me feel like a wuss.

Here are the 7 principles:
  1. Master the courage to interrogate reality
  2. Come out from behind yourself into the conversation and make it real
  3. Be here, prepared to be nowhere else
  4. Tackle your toughest challenge today
  5. Obey your instincts
  6. Take responsibility for your emotional wake
  7. Let silence do the heavy lifting
All of the principles hit me, but #6 leapt off the page at me.
Take responsibility for your own emotional wake.  
When we're young, it's easy to think that difficult relationships are all the fault of the other, but as we age we soon find that our difficult relationships often follow patterns--the same sort of person can't stand you,  you get into the same emotional messes but with different people, you offend in a uniquely "you" sort of way.

As a "blamer," I REALLY like to think it's 99% the other person's fault.  But if I keep causing the same problems wherever I go, the same emotional wake, at some point, I've got to point the finger back at me.


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