“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” -Ephesians 4:29 NIV
Conversations during seasons of transition have the potential to become volatile. We may go into a meeting with the best of intentions, but the insecurity and anxiety connected with transition can trip us up, and before we know it we are saying things we regret.
This same insecurity and anxiety causes others to withdraw. Whether the conversation is with a family member, friend, co-worker, or simply the clerk at the grocery store, we can find ourselves preoccupied and disengaged. We turn inward, feeling like the present has no real purpose. Mentally and emotionally we are already on to the next thing, whatever that is.
When these become our default responses in transition conversations 1) the talks we should have never occur because avoidance is easier in the short-term, or 2) the conversation takes place, but has a negative outcome for both parties. Either way, successful transition is hindered because of a short-term approach.
A great goal to have for healthy transition is to maintain a long-term perspective. If you are the one leaving, ask yourself, Could I circle back to these relationships 5 years from now? 10 years from now? Project yourself into that situation. How do you want your next encounter with this individual to feel?
If you are the one staying you might ask, How do I feel about our relationship? What could make it better? When it comes time for me to make a transition, how would I like to feel upon my departure? How can I help this person feel that way?
This long-term approach can give us the motivation we need to invest in life-giving conversations, even through difficult transitions.
So, how does transition impact your social skills? Are you more likely to speak out of impatience or anger? Or would you prefer to crawl into your transition "shell", never to be seen again? Either way, with some long-term thinking, some great counsel from God's word, and a shot of courage, you can successfully navigate your transition, and help others to do the same.
What would it look like to see each conversation as an opportunity to affirm and encourage some really significant people in your life? Ephesians 4:29 sets the backdrop for a really great conversation to take place, even during high stress transition times. When coupled with David Pollack's RAFT model for healthy transitions, the potential is there to transform transition conversations into what they should be: AFFIRMING.
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