Civil Discourse: A Safe Way to Converse

The most common factor that seems to be holding so many people back is the inability to confront the undesirable.  In particular, the inability to have the necessary conversations in which there is no easy or obvious outcome.  Conversations in which I would capture into the phrase, civil discourse.  Civil discourse can be a conversation with your present, past, or future self.  It can also be with two or more sides to a conversation.   

What does civil discourse entail?  

Civil discourse can be a conversation with your present, past, or future self.  It can also be a conversation with two or more sides, whether that be individuals or parties.  

Civil discourse isn’t about the outcome, it’s about the process in which a mutually desired outcome is attained.  

Civil discourse is about understanding why the other side believes what they do and how they came to believe that.  Once both sides understand these perspectives then an outcome can be discovered.  

Civil discourse may mean an infinite amount of really frustrating, annoying, mentally and emotionally draining conversations until any positive headway is gained.  Some discourses shouldn’t be restrained to one poignant chat.  

Civil discourse does not mean taking one’s own baggage out on the other person or bringing in past resentments into the conversation.  It is not an attack on the other side regardless of the past.  

Civil discourse is a prearranged conversation in which there is a designated time/place in which to have an open, safe, and secure place to dig in.   

Civil discourse has an agreed-upon subject matter in which to focus on in which to have time to prepare for the conversation to be had. 

Civil discourse is about letting the other side clearly articulate their thoughts without interruption.  There is a clear dialogue in which a question or statement is made and the other side then gets their chance to speak.  

Civil discourse is a balanced conversation in which both sides get to speak their truth without interruption to clearly find the words to match their own thoughts.  

Civil discourse isn’t only about negative conflict resolution, it can also be about positive ventures going forward.  It is merely about trying to find a clear path forward regardless of the circumstances.  Sometimes it just takes many ideas and thoughts before something great can be formed from two good things.  

Civil discourse may be about having these types of conversations to see if you continue to want certain people in your life.  The answers or way someone has these conversations is a great answer to the type of person they really are.  Part of these conversations is being able to let those who will not grow with you behind so you can better surround yourself with those who are happy to hash through these types of conversations.  

A quick example of how this recently played out in my life.  My baby momma and I have been having what I would consider being to me civil discourses, to her probably conflicts.  We had probably close to 20 or more conversations all revolving around the same issue.  We would have a conversation and it would end in a negative manner in which emotions ran too high or there was nowhere else for the conversation to go.  Regardless we went about our day to try and hash it out another time.  Finally, after quite a bit of time, we had a breakthrough due to better questions and better descriptions of how the other person views things.  We both could better understand the way the other viewed life or what the other was going through that led to compassion for the things they were dealing with.  It was a huge moment for our relationship to take it to a better level of individual understanding.   

From that one breakthrough, we then had another not too far apart from the first.  Again drawing us closer and tighter together to better combat what the future has to throw at us.  Needless to say, there was a lot of work that went into these conversations in order to find a breakthrough.  It didn’t happen by random chance nor would it take care of itself, it happened through continued conversation on the subject.  It was exhausting and took a lot of our capacity to continue to work through our areas of individual confusion.  We will continue to have these tough conversations in the future and I imagine they only get tougher, but every time we work through one topic we become so much better prepared for the next.  

Don’t leave these conversations to chance or write them off as not that big of a deal.  This is your future at stake.  Whether that be to continue working some crap job where people continually abuse you or take advantage of you all because you refuse to try to converse with them on a real level.  This could even be a conversation in which you need to have with those closest to you.  If they won’t have these conversations with you, well then have the courage to stand up to them and speak your truth.  Leave that crap situation or leave those holding you back behind for a better future in which you find others who will grow with you through the tough and the good times.  Otherwise, what is the meaning of any of it?  

If you aren’t having these civil discourses in your life, chances are you are living your life based on the perspectives of others.  You are falling into the trap of living your life according to how they think you should live in order to best serve their future.  If people around you don’t know how to have these types of conversations, leave them and find others who will.  Do not leave this up to others, take the initiative to have real conversations about things that actually matter.  Otherwise, you are just another person attacking others hoping that someone treats you like a victim or charity case.  No ownership, no growth, and no reality.  

Be the positive change by having the tough conversations with those willing to work through them!  Be the leader that the world needs you to be!  Don’t be the child who loses their cool and throws a temper tantrum.  Don’t be the one who takes out their BS on you to make themselves feel better while potentially ruining another life.  No!  Stand up against the weak or ignorant.  If not you, WHO?