Have you ever walked away from a conversation feeling like you’ve just been sucker-punched? Have you ever walked into a discussion that took a shocking turn and you suddenly felt you were being verbally attacked? Have you ever let yourself stew over an offense or misunderstanding only to find yourself the perpetrator of a harmful toxic conversation? I imagine, in our lifetime, that we would have to say “yes” to these questions.
Conversations of this nature NEVER bear any fruit and truly,and the energy it takes to try to “take back” what has been expressed can simply be wasted time; angry words spoken are a lot like a feather pillow~ Once the feathers are out you can never, ever put them back again. Marriages, families, companies, churches, and friendships have been ruined by toxic conversations.
We may never be able to fully control how someone else conducts themselves in a conversation. However, there are some key elements that can help each of us to notice when we are initiating or engaged in a toxic conversation:
1. Your body will feel the tension. (jaws, hands, heartbeat, etc.)
2. You feel you are 100% sure that you are 100% right! (in every challenge we have to own our contribution.)
3. The conversation has become unfruitfully repetitious. You find yourself saying the same thing over and over and over with no sign of resolve.
4. You find yourself using terminology that is offensive and hurtful; attacking angrily making personal jabs that you know will wound.
5. You know in your head that the conversation is getting worse and worse but you give yourself permission to keep trying to “Win” this discussion. You ignore even your inner voice that tells you to end the conversation.
I don’t believe that most of us engage in Toxic conversations on a regular basis, but frankly, even one can cause incredible damage to all those who engage in it! Our best decision is to choose to be aware of ourselves in a challenging situation or relationship and make a decision ahead of time not to initiate or engage in it!
I’m a firm believer in crucial conversations; we all have to have difficult discussions from time to time and “done well” there can be resolve, understanding, forgiveness, or even a decision to agree to disagree. But~~a toxic conversation only causes harm!
Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”