Friday, May 18, 2012

Taboo Topics

"So, tell me about the thoughtful conversations you have had with your group around sex and  sexuality."

Silence...  "Well, it does come up now and then.  But typically, someone gets uncomfortable and cracks a joke.  And, that's about the end of it."

It seems to me that there are a number of topics that many groups agree to avoid.  They don't come out and speak their agreement, but the agreement exists nonetheless.  Sex.  Specifics of money. Religion and faith.  All areas where there is likely to be diversity of thoughts, values, and judgments and so we avoid.  We don't want to be the odd one out.  We don't want to challenge the dominant cultural view.  So we stick to safer topics.

If it works for you, keep it.  If it's not working though, there may be another way.

Let's talk about talking about it.  Whatever "it" might be, we can follow a series of questions that pave the way for a meaningful discussion and concrete action.
  • "What would be the risk of having a conversation about ____?"
  • "Is it worth the risks in order to gain greater satisfaction, understanding, or connection in this area of our lives?"
  • "What are the longheld beliefs that might be in play as we engage in this conversation?"  "Where did those beliefs come from?"  "Are they still relevant?"  "What beliefs  are we willing to challenge or forego?"
Assessing the risks and making a conscious choice to engage increases the levels of safety for all involved.  It allows us to keep our feet on the ground and our fears in check.  It promotes our ability to show up with candor and authenticity.  And, that's all good.