Whenever I go snowboarding, I’ve learned to check the weather forecast so I can be appropriately dressed. If it’s snowing, it helps to wear water repellant gear. If it’s cloudy, I try to remember to bring my flat light goggles. While you may find this to be boring, the principle remains that we need to prepare in advance for things that we know could be challenging or difficult. Sometimes if we know that we’re going to be in some tricky family situations (with Christmas around the corner), it helps to do some mental coaching ahead of time about the things we should or should not discuss. It helps to coach ourselves about our attitudes and some of our thinking so that when we get in some potential hotspots, we have done some preparation work ahead of time to help us with our words, actions and attitudes. Gear up my friends, in constructive ways, there could be some hotspots on the horizon in the next few weeks 🙂
I had coffee with a friend the other day & this friend can be a little cranky from time to time & I was concerned that our coffee gathering was going to be “one of those times.” I didn’t feel like I could cancel the coffee date but I was kind of jittery about what path the conversation would take. So I thought about some different strategies I could use for this potentially volatile coffee time & here were some of my thoughts:
- I could endeavor to keep the conversation shallow & discuss the weather, sports & all things surfacy. I decided against this option because she would know that I was being disengenuous.
- I could arrive late & have to leave early before anything dicey could come up – again, that would be disengenuous
- I could just brace myself for whatever might be said & keep a tough shell so that nothing she could say would zing me. With this option, I would guard myself from being totally present in the conversation
- I could pre-forgive her – making the decision ahead of time to forgive her no matter what she might say, regardless of if she was trying to be intentionally hurtful or not. I decided for this option 🙂
So here was the outcome – our coffee time went well, we had a great conversation & there was nothing too zing-y that I had to work through & forgive. I liked the pre-forgiveness strategy so much that I decided to share it with you & use it again in other situations that have any hurtful potetial 🙂