September 17, 2019

Do You Ever Depress Yourself? (How to Short-Circuit a Conversation—and How to Help Someone Who Just Did)

This past week, I was included in a conversation where one of the people speaking was—well—wrong. Her facts were not correct.

Here comes the tricky part: it didn’t matter. It was not fundamental to the story being told. There was, literally, no reason for me to correct her.  

But I did.

And what’s worse is that, even as I felt the correction bubbling up, I knew I didn’t need to say it. I knew it would short-circuit the conversation but I could not stuff the words down and, bam.

Conversation over.

Aaaaauuuugh.

These are the moments I depress myself.

Luckily, I have a lovely husband. (Honestly, I work so hard to handle communication gracefully and he just does it intuitively.) After I told him how I’d crapped all over the conversation, he said,

“Thank you for telling me.”

Can you believe that??

Not, “Oh well, I’m sure it wasn’t that bad” – thereby invalidating my experience. Or, “Yep, I’ve seen you do it” – thereby making me feel worse. Or, “Well, at least you didn’t say X” – thereby redirecting the conversation.

It was amazing.

So, what would—will—I do differently in the future?

Hopefully, zip my lip while my brain and my body duke it out.

Because, as mentioned, I could feel the contradiction bubbling up; and I could feel my brain hitting, “Override, override!”

And while I am a super-fan of listening to the messages my body is sending me, these are the times it’s not enough to recognize that my lizard brain is calling the shots—I need to go the extra step and enforce a time out.

Should you find yourself in a similar situation, I hope that reading this will help you manage your lizard brain in a timely manner.

And if you have a friend who confides a similar embarrassment to you that you say to them, “Thank you for telling me.”

It’s a game-changer.

 

For more on how to manage a shame spiral, check out: “Can You Pull Out of a Shame Spiral?” 

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