How to talk about your problems (and be heard)

Hello! Seiiti Arata. You need to talk about your problems. When we're experiencing problems and we want to talk about them, how can we do this in a way that ensures we're being heard?

YouTube video: How to talk about your problems (and be heard) | Hello Seiiti Arata 09

There are four stages of simple communication that we can use to make sure that we avoid drama or giving the impression that we're just complaining.

How to talk about your problems (and be heard)

In the previous video, we spoke about how to stop complaining.

Complaining is an inefficient way to deal with things when there are other options that could produce better results.

Therefore, talking about our problems can also be rewarding, if we know how to do so in a positive way. This is what we're going to learn to do today. Grab your pen and paper so we can start.

1. Be clear on your expectations before speaking.

Start off by being very clear on what it is that you want. Do you just want to talk and be heard, or would you also like to hear some advice? Are you ready to create a plan of action?

If you only need to be heard at the moment and all you want is some empathy, please, say this out loud so the other person understands.

There's a reason for this, and it is stage number two:

How to talk about your problems (and be heard)

2. Be prepared to hear advice and not consolations.

This is the cause of a lot of drama – be prepared for it.

Those who care about you have the best intentions in the world, they want to help you make things right. They want you to change, because they believe that this will make you happier. Maybe they think just talking isn't going to help you. In this case, they may even avoid listening.

This isn't out of spite. It's very difficult for your friends and family to just listen, just be there for you and accept you as you are. If they feel your pain and hear your problems, they're going to feel compelled to help you find solutions.

It's here that the third stage will come in handy.

3. Freeze time.

When you talk about your problems and unsolicited advice is given (and it will be!) you need to Freeze Time. In other words, stop for a moment and check your feelings.

When they're trying to change you, do you feel loved? Can you tell if this unasked for advice is a real expression of affection, that they care?

If you're able to accept this as a type of gift, you may even be ready to discuss a plan of action with them.

But there will be other times that this advice can seem judgmental, as though they're putting you down. Maybe you become resentful that your request for empathy was ignored. You could become embarrassed, or even angry that your friend pointed out your faults and defects. So, it's normal that the instinctive impulse to defend yourself kicks in.

Because of all this, keep time frozen. Become conscious of all these emotions you are feeling and redirect yourself so you can get a positive result from this situation.

Firstly, make the effort to understand the other person. Freeze time! Hold back your need to be understood. First, let's understand each other.

A lot of the time, people that love us have large expectations of us. Sometimes they can't understand our choices, It's just that they have different life experiences and values. All of this affects their ability to listen open mindedly.

They look at us through lenses that project their world vision on to us.

And remembering, it's in this way that they're trying to help: when we talk about our problems, they're trying to put themselves in our place and suggest how we should change so we can have a better life. Understand now?

Now let's get to the final part.

4. Gratitude and backtracking

What have we done up to now? We've evaluated our own feelings and now we're looking to understand the other person. In doing this correctly we can then unfreeze time and express our gratitude.

We can use this moment to remind them that we're still not looking for change yet. We can clarify that right now, for us, it’s more important to be heard and empathised with. To have someone who is there for us that can just listen to and accept us, without wanting us to change.

This is when you can use the backtrack technique (I've already spoken about this in a previous video) we can gently question: “Hey, this is very important to me right now. Can you please tell me what it is that you understand I need?”

At this point, it's likely that the person will refuse to respond, instead saying: “Okay, no problem, I understand.”

So you can smile and remember “I didn't ask whether you understood. I asked for you to tell me, in your own words, what you have understood that I need right now.”

Or they could give a wrong answer, showing that they haven't understood your need to just be heard at all and that you're not looking for advice right now.

Your technique of backtracking will be a success when the person speaking to you is able to give a response that's really in line with your expectations. So then we can say yes, you were successfully able to talk about your problems.

An important note:

There could be a time that you're in danger, suffering violent abuse or a serious problem. In special cases such as these, the correct person to contact would be a professional, like the police, a doctor or other licensed professional that's qualified to take care of you. Today we're focusing on less serious problems, when it's appropriate to ask a friend to just talk to us and listen.

This chat today has been about how we can simply Talk About Our Problems. All we want is to be heard.

Remember: if you're ready to get stuck in, take action and discuss different advice and ideas, amazing. If you're not ready, use the backtracking technique to clarify your need to just be heard.

Do you need any more help?

I suggest that you take our quick course on emotional intelligence and assertive communication, How To Say No – click here to register now.