Top dos and don’ts of tender conversations

Enjoying meaningful conversation with those we love and care about is one of the great pleasures of being human, and two great – and perfectly dove-tailing – articles giving ten top tips apiece have crossed my radar recently.

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Words to silence

Loving someone can be, by its very nature, a vulnerable act; at any moment, the object of our affection can change their mind, reject us, disappoint or leave us.

For many of us, silence has become our way of knowing that something’s ended; from dating’s ever-present ghosting to the dearth of conversation between long-term partners.

The cruellest silence of all is the one that follows a beloved’s death. But what if you could still talk to them – and have them answer back?

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Keep CALM and carry on

One of the great skills in life – perhaps even more important than learning new ways to respond to difficult thoughts, feelings, and sensations – is being able to apply such learnings in the heat of having those difficult thoughts, feelings, and sensations.

I think it’s why I love mnemonics, such as Tara Brach’s RAIN;

Recognize what is happening;
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
Investigate with interest and care;
Nurture with self-compassion.

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Hidden Chapters

For some weird reason, I’m not one for reading fiction. The nerd in me has always been too keen to learn something new so, as the years have passed, I’ve found myself hoarding books full of knowledge and research, seldom tarrying in the land of someone’s imagination.

But I found myself accepting a novel’s invitation to escape recently, whilst taking advantage of my second vaccination jab to look after my mum, and its theme has stayed with me.

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Sowing seeds

The weather forecast predicts the return of cold weather but, as I write, spring is in the air – together with a desire to be out in nature.

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I’m not an outdoorsy person. I tend to feel the cold so like to be dry and warm, with bathroom facilities and food in near-constant and reassuring proximity.

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Love and hurt

As I’ve said before, given that ‘love’ is in the title of my website, I’m kinda contractually obliged to write about the subject when the month of February rolls around. And it’s one I’ve written about a lot.

But I confess that it’s been a subject that’s been playing on my mind recently. One I’ve actively wrestled with over the last month.

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Which one are you feeding?

It’s the 1st of January today so I think I’ll be in some good company when I make the following confession: I picked up a pretty bad habit last year.

Nothing big, dark or scary, by the way. I haven’t developed a penchant for loitering in opium dens, or for putting everything I have on red (not being able to leave the house due to a rampaging pandemic has some unexpected benefits, huh).

But I felt pretty lonely during 2020 (not being able to spend time with other people, physically, in person, tends to do that to a gal), and I’ve found myself doom-scrolling on Twitter as a result. And for something I do to make myself feel better, I sure do feel worse afterwards.

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The power of “I Don’t Know”

I have a bit of a reputation amongst my circle for being someone who knows. Friends reach out to me for advice. Strangers ask me questions. Colleagues trust.

And, for the most part, I have an answer. While my mind feels more bric-a-brac-come-room of hidden things, it’s astonishing the amount of half-helpful stuff my intellect has acquired.

(I’m not being modest about ‘half-helpful’; I generally only remember enough to trigger a lengthy Google-Fu session.)

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