Updated: Aug 2, 2020
Imagine for a moment slipping into bath water where the temperature is exactly how you need it to be for your comfort. You slide in…it's quiet…the lighting is soothing…you exhale...your body sinks deeper into the water, and you feel yourself at rest.
Conversations that are bathed in this kind of accepting warmth allow us to let down and show up more fully.
When the flow of conversation is icy, we are not likely to even dip a toe in. Same goes for the other we are attempting to talk with or be heard by.
Then there is the lukewarm water where we might find ourselves shutdown, neutral. We neither feel connected in a conversation like this or welcome when it's coming from an other.
The water can also be too hot with anger splashing about, where no one feels heard and we can even be burned, leaving the conversation feeling hurt and fearful that nothing will ever change.
We do have some options.
We can choose not to slip into the tub when the water is too hot, and take some time and distance, communicating that we will return when the temperature has shifted.
When the water is too cold, we have the opportunity to add warmth by slowing down and recognizing the emotional needs of each one engaged in the moment. This might look like noticing that words were being tossed around like a splash of cold water to the face.
When the water is lukewarm, we have the opportunity to add some slow and gentle heat by getting curious and about what might be causing our self or an other to shut down.
Bathtub conversation is most effective when we can check in with each other and prepare the water before we step in, but if we find ourselves suddenly there – take the time you both need to adjust the temperature.