I realise it’s been several months since I wrote a First Monday of The Month Challenge but I felt compelled to get back in the game today, not because I feel you need challenging of course, life does that for you, but rather because I feel challenged myself.

The theme here is emotional honesty without responsibility. Responsibility for how others perceive your expression of personal thoughts, feelings and heart stirrings, even when they are illogical, irrational and appear at first glance to affect another being. Your thoughts and feelings need no explanation but the way in which you communicate them may be the key to allowing others a peek under the bonnet without feeling threatened by what they see or hear and may also be instrumental in opening the door to more authentic and intimate relating.

I is the most profound and powerful opening statement you can use during authentic discourse. I want, I feel, I think, I AM… all of these take responsibility for self and ownership of what’s being expressed, whereas if your conversation commences with You, you effectively place responsibility upon another. Rightly or wrongly this can be an inflammatory start to an interaction. Likewise, We, means you have decided to speak for another and made an assumption that they think, feel or choose the same as you do… also inflammatory if done without consent.

Now I’ve got that out of the way, I can get to the challenge, or at least what I am finding challenging: people who tell me how I feel, what I think and what I should want. More challenging though is when those same people go on to further accuse that those feelings, thoughts and wants (that they have decided for me) are having some form of impact upon their lives… at no point being forthcoming about their own thoughts, feelings, wants and behaviours, which are somehow wrapped up and disguised in the projections they already attributed as being all mine!

Here is the thing, nobody knows how anyone else will react in any given situation, nobody has the inside info on the prognosis of any particular interaction or unfolding. Regardless of what you learn or witness in another, unless you are God you have no real understanding of what drives, motivates or even puts the brakes on for anybody else and so all you can really do is be open, be honest, stay in your own lane, take ownership of and responsibility for your own feelings, thoughts and choices and communicate them authentically in the first person, compassionately and gently without placing or accepting fault or blame which are basically diversionary tactics that delay the crucial information being shared, heard and understood.

The only way to know if you are on the same page is to acknowledge openly which page you are on and listen without prejudice to which page the other is currently contemplating.

If you aren’t prepared to share your “I’s” your “You’s” will never become successful “We’s.” That’s perfectly fine, but for the sake of everyone involved, communicate that too, (it’s okay to be reading a completely different book).

Principles 3, 4 & 7

More later… x