by Ericka Francois

One of the most challenging tasks amongst individuals is proper communication.

Think about how many times you’ve found yourself in conflict and didn’t know how to address the situation.

Are you also a non-confrontational person? If so, your anxiety must be through the roof when something is bothering you. How about growing up in a passive-aggressive home? Learning to express yourself can be scary. Take small steps everyday, rewarding yourself along the way. It will get easier. Letting go of the desire to please or acquiesce everyone will also help. You can’t control how someone else can react, but you can control how you react. Having self-control and being emotionally intelligent in conflict is synonymous.

It’s about knowing that only you have access to your emotions, no one else.

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Your feelings are always valid. Don’t deny yourself of what your gut is telling you, listen to it and trust it because you should trust yourself.

As a person who struggled with communication my whole life, I’ve begun to communicate everything. I don’t think that’s a problem. Being comfortable with opening up spaces for people to talk about what bothers them in relationships is important.

Although I’ve made tremendous progress, not everyone is as comfortable as I have become. Every relationship can have conflicts. The key isn’t just communication; it’s comprehension. Both individuals have to understand each other because communication without comprehension is pointless. Body language isn’t enough. Never assume and always speak up. Everyone is different–the most effective thing you can do is talk. Of course everything won’t be perfect just because you communicated; sometimes, others don’t know how to. The point is not to fear it–nine times out of ten, things can get better with a little discussion.

It’s important to know that it isn’t your responsibility to be someone’s therapist or for them to be yours. There needs to be discomfort sometimes to get to someplace good, to grow at all. I will say that sometimes not saying anything at all can be a good thing. Things said in anger can linger, making more of an impact than just a misunderstanding.You shouldn’t feel scared to talk because of how a person might react, especially if you find yourself in constant conflict with that person.


A version of this post originally appeared in “Clarity” The Teller May 2019 Issue 6

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