Stay Focused on The Problem, Not The Person

I had trouble sleeping last night — I was all tight and uncomfortable and my mind was full of thoughts. 3A is a rough time to start thinking about all the things that are on your mind, like the topic of saying things you don’t mean because you are hurt or angry. Or saying things you know you shouldn’t –true or not true.

We all do it — revert back to our school days and say things out of spite or to hurt someone when if we stopped, calmed down and took a deep breath, we would not have said it.  Sometimes even though you don’t mean it, it can do some damage. There are consequences to saying things that you don’t mean. Good and/or bad ones. You can hurt people’s feelings, demotivate them, and make them downright angry.

408433_495872973800398_608133319_nWhat is the price you pay for lashing out and saying something hurtful? Short-term and long-term consequences and what it can do to ongoing relationships. It’s easier said than done of course –we are creatures of habit and learning a new way to communicate is hard.

I think one of the keys is to focus on the situation/issue and not the person. The second it becomes personal, you have the chance of hitting a nerve.

I came across this that seemed to explain this point well:

Always stay focused on the problem, not the person. By constantly returning to the core of the disagreement and staying focused on it, you can alleviate the all-too-easy tendency to start name-calling and picking on each other’s personal traits. Most of the time, who you each are and what you believe in is not at stake when you disagree––it’s an issue, and that issue is what needs to be refined and resolved, not the person! If you do find yourself inclined to name call or speak unkindly, consider the following:


Always be prepared to do “time out” if you feel overwhelmed, angry or liable to physically threaten or harm the other person. Cooling down is a right and a responsibility, not an afterthought.

Hope that helps others out there – it certainly is something I am striving towards. Improving my communication delivery will help me personally and professionally and I know it needs work. I try to always keep in mind the person’s intentions as well. Most people out there don’t intentionally want to hurt someone’s feelings and are coming from a good place. If you start there, usually it helps to create an outcome that makes everyone happy.

To help with my tightness and extra energy, I went for a nice run this morning on the trail. I ended up doing about 4.5 miles – not all running but the point was to get outside and move my body. I got some sun, connected to nature, and got some exercise. Perfect combination.

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