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Modern Renegades with Ashley Kelsch | Questions and Answers

Ep #72

Questions and Answers

When it comes to having a difficult conversation, do you fear what doing so will lead to in your relationship? Rather than inquiring and exploring the issue, connecting with yourself or the other person, do you find yourself shutting down and disconnecting completely?

Whether it’s dating, partnerships, or friendships, communicating needs, wants, and problems is difficult for many of us. But when you don’t communicate, you not only disconnect from yourself but from other people too. We have to learn to stop focusing on addressing the problems, and start focusing on the solutions.

In this episode, I’m exploring how to find solutions to problems in relationships, the importance of being open to hearing other peoples’ thoughts and feelings about you, and how to view problems as opportunities to grow and learn. Can you hold space for questions and answers, focus on the facts, and find solutions? Of course you can, Renegades, it’s what we do. Explore more with me in this episode.

What You Will Discover:

  • How to work through issues in your relationships.
  • Why opening your mind to other perspectives will help you maintain connections with others.
  • Why all relationships require work and maintenance.
  • What causes disconnection between people.
  • Why other people are not responsible for your feelings.

Resources Mentioned:

  • If you’re enjoying the tools and concepts I’m sharing each week about your brain on dating, you won’t want to miss out on working with me one-on-one. I’ve just launched my program, Wake Up Before Another Breakup, where in just 8 weeks, you won’t question if you can trust yourself to date or why you can’t find the one. Click here to learn more about it and how you can work with me.

Enjoy the Show?

I woke up the other morning with a song playing in my head by the middle kids: I’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

I’m not sure if they are fact or fiction. And I’m not sure if they are even worth asking.

How often do you find yourself in this position? The position of wanting to have a conversation and yet everything in you doesn’t won’t or can’t. And rather than connecting with yourself and the other person, you shut down and disconnect.

This could be in dating, in your partnerships or friendships. It doesn’t matter the ship- communicating our needs, wants, grievances, problems is very difficult for a lot of us.

We hold back because we fear the feeling that is required to even have the conversation and are worried about the outcome. What we think we might feel after. Our brain insists we hold back to protect ourselves emotionally.

What if the only obstacle is the emotion that we are going to experience that comes from having the conversation?

I wonder if instead of calling it conflict resolution or a difficult conversation, we labeled it as a conduit, a bridge or a connector. A channel to flow between two people to bring you to an understanding. Closer.

I’ve got questions. You’ve got answers.

When you don’t communicate your thoughts and feelings you not only disconnect from yourself but you do from the other person.

This internal resistance grows and prevents us from having the deeper connections we are looking for.

We hold back and create more separation.

Which is the opposite of what we want with the people in our lives.

I want to offer that given the opportunity, we choose to air our grievances and welcome someone else’s perspective about us because these are the opportunities for us to grow and learn.

I’m going to offer that this experience won’t always be easy.

Our defenses will want to go up. Which is totally normal. The protective part of our brain. Our ego wanting to keep us safe.

I’ve been actively trying to practice and incorporate this bit from Byron Katie. She says:

Defense is the first act of war. If you tell me that I’m mean, rejecting, hard, unkind, or unfair, I say, “Thank you, sweetheart, I can find all these in my life, I have been everything you say, and more. Together we can help me understand. Without you, how can I know the places in me that are unkind and invisible? So, sweetheart, look into my eyes and tell me again. I want you to give me everything.”

I’ve got questions …. You’ve got answers.

But we want to be clear about a few things here. We aren’t seeking answers to feel better. We aren’t seeking answers to fill voids. We aren’t seeking them to change and align with us so we can feel better.

I’ve been experiencing this in my friendships quite a bit actually. Which, I don’t think we realize how much work is required to maintain friendships. I think we think they will always be fun and when they cease to be, we move on. As opposed to romantic relationships or partnerships where the world tells you you will have years where you don’t like your partner and that is expected. No one tells you that about friendships. Which is bananas. You are in relation. Right? Interacting with another human. We are going to have disagreements and hard times, too.

Needless to say, over the last few years I’ve heard from friends and people I’ve dated different things like: I can’t be wrong, you didn’t show up for me, you’re gossiping, you’re a taker.

I won’t bore you with the details of emotion that surged through my body or the thoughts that flooded my brain - how I wanted to defend myself or explain my positioning, let them know my truth, but instead I went to a place either verbally or mentally and said:

You’re right and.

Tell me more.

Yes, and what else?

I really listened and believed them and their experience of me. Doing so allowed me to see what they saw. The parts of me I can’t see. And yes, it feels fucking horrible.

Sometimes even when you fully agree you don’t find the truth. But trust me when I tell you, that you’ll know if you do or don’t.

The truth is, no one is right or wrong. There is my experience and my view and truth of what I’m seeing. And then there is yours. And with my ego in the driver’s seat there is absolutely no way I can see yours and this causes a disconnect between the two people.

And listen Renegades. Not everyone wants to do this kind of work in their relationships. They want surface. They want fun. Totally get it. Unfortunately for the people in my life, I want to go deep.

Unfortunately for me, I’m not a confrontational person. It makes me highly uncomfortable to have the difficult and hard conversations. Plus I grew up in a household where you didn’t get to have an opinion and basically spoke when spoken to.

For me, finding my words and speaking them can not only be challenging to my nervous system and there is this mental process that I’ll put myself through where I’ll spend weeks in my mind trying to work it out, forgive the other person or see where I’m wrong and not say a word and have 17 different conversations by myself.

Admittedly, this can be very counterproductive as I’m not a mind reader and have no idea what they are thinking. If they even know that there is a problem. This process can lead me to the feelings of resentment.

Which is also feels fucking terrible.

Jordan Peterson talks about resentment and says it’s a sign that you either do have a real boundary issue and lack the courage to stand up for yourself or you need to grow up. Real talk, I oscillate between the two.

I had a conversation a few weeks ago and what I thought I accepted as all good has become increasingly bothersome to me. Basically every time I talk to this person and hear what they’ve been up to my brain refers to the earlier conversation and started using it as evidence to how they don’t find me important. I was basically seething whenever we talked.

This is how I’ve known I wasn’t ready to talk about it because I’m blaming them for how I feel and other people aren’t responsible for our feelings.

No one can make me feel unimportant. It’s the thoughts I’m having about the conversation, their actions.

We want to make sure we clean up our side of the street first.

I have a client who has told me that the person she is interested in isn’t good at communication. She texts him and he doesn’t respond right away and she gets mad. Deletes her text she sent and writes him off. It infuriates her.

But the thing is, she sends me messages to and I don’t reply right away and she gives zero fucks. I pointed that out and she’s said you’re busy. Work kids. I know that you’ll respond when you have time. I said, he has the same! So why does it feel different when he does the same thing? Same circumstances just different thoughts.

You with me Renegades? We’ve been taught that other people hurt our feelings other people make us happy. Circumstances make us happy or sad. This is a false education. Your thoughts about the circumstances are what make you feel. This has been the most freeing understanding for me over the last few years.

Understanding that it’s my thinking that creates my feelings. This doesn’t mean we are going to always choose to feel happy good and great either but we have agency.

So what do we do? How can we communicate in our relationships our feelings without blame? How can we not be defensive?

We want to inquire, seek and reveal.

We want to get clarity, not talk about the problems and find solutions.

It’s your lucky day, Renegades. I’ve got the answers for you to ask the questions.
Before we communicate what we have going on we want to clean up our side of the street. You want to be very clear that the other person is not responsible for your feelings. People get to be people and do what they want. Say what they want. And we get to think and feel how we want about it. Know how you feel and why. Put it on paper.

Choose with intention useful emotions to go into the conversation with. Do you want to be open minded? Curious? Kind? Compassionate? Confused?

Be willing to be wrong. Your brain is going to want to be right. Stay open to being wrong. You can say here is what I’m seeing but I want to understand what you see. Tell me everything. Show me your point of view. And really go there Renegades.

Identify all the facts. The things you could prove in the court of law. Figure out what each of you is making it mean.

And here’s the twist; don’t keep addressing the problem but instead focus on the solutions. We don’t need them to agree with us. We want to find solutions.

My yoga instructor was recently talking about the higher self wanting to get in the back seat when he found himself in a confrontation conversation. That ego of ours has quite a bit to say. Unfortunately, it’s a detour. A spiritual bypass. One thing we tend to forget when we are trying hard to prove a point is that this is your human experience. Your emotions. Your reality.

We don’t need them to understand our view. We get to understand ourselves. We want to create the feelings and results in our relationships because we are the ones experiencing them.

Can you hold space for questions and answers? Focus on the facts and find solutions? Of course you can Renegades. It’s what we do.

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