As a wellness and personal revolution coach, I’ve noticed that when a client mentions anxiety about one particular person in her life—regardless of whether the relationship is personal or professional—the root of that stress is usually a lack of communication.
Speaking up honestly is not always the easiest thing to do, but open communication is essential to maintaining or improving any relationship.
Relationship Stress #1: Personal and family commitments
“I have to do this, or no one will.”
“It’s my duty.”
“Of course I’m exhausted, but I care about this.”
I hear similar statements from stressed-out patients and clients time and time again. Many people who’ve said “yes” to a request for help from family, friends, or volunteer causes have found that the list of tasks quickly expands.
You know what would happen if you withdrew from a bank account over and over but never made a deposit. Well, it’s the same with your time and mental and physical energy. Without rest and self-care, your ability to “draw” will disappear. Over-serving depletes your resources.
Talk Tip: Be honest about your “account.”
Please, decline when enough is enough. It is perfectly okay to be upfront: “No, sorry. I’m at my limit.” You’re not obligated to explain or defend any further. Your wellbeing is a legitimate reason, period. (Want to begin refreshing your reserves now? A moment of quiet and this relaxing tea may be just the thing.)
Relationship Stress #2: The workplace
Imagine this: You’re a seasoned expert, great at your job and respected among colleagues. One day, a coworker with less experience and success than you asks the boss for a raise. He gets it, along with a new title that confers authority. Despite your professional record, you’re not offered either.
Sound familiar? Some studies have suggested that women are far less likely than men to broach the subject of their own promotion. Even the idea of asking can trigger significant stress.
But accepting your stagnant position won’t help. Chances are, over the long term, keeping your potential and drive to yourself will breed frustration, anger, and more anxiety.
Talk Tip: Keep it professional.
Executives expect to hear the facts about the business, so objectively report your successes. Then, point out how your talents can help further the company’s future: “Sales have doubled since I joined the team. I would take the company to even greater heights as the new sales supervisor.”
The extra bonus in the factual approach: Focusing on the business’s potential benefits keeps the spotlight—and the discomfort that may come with it—off you personally. Goodbye, “am I boasting” worries.
Relationship Stress #3: Romantic partnerships
When romance enters the equation, relationships become more complex. Strong emotions can make it hard to separate our individual needs from the joy of being connected with a special person.
But don’t ignore it if you feel something is “off.” The one thing I can practically guarantee is that no problem can be resolved if it isn’t brought to light.
Talk Tip: Trust in authenticity.
You want your relationships to be genuine, right? Then you must be willing to be forthright. I know it’s not easy to speak up when we fear that special person’s feelings could be hurt. To ease that risk, experts recommend keeping fairness principles in mind when starting this kind of discussion.
- Be mindful of when and where you talk. A low-stress time and private environment are best.
- Speak calmly, even if you’re angry.
- Clearly state the concern from your vantage point—and then listen carefully to your partner’s view.
- Don’t be distracted by smaller questions. Get to the heart of the matter.
Are any of your relationships suffering from a communication gap? You owe it to your emotional health to learn why. Call me at 212-686-0939. I’d be honored to help you get to the root of the fears holding you back from more open, authentic, and satisfying living.