“I got it, suddenly and profoundly.”

That’s award-winning actress Jane Lynch, but she’s not talking about feeling validated as she won her first Emmy.

Profound connections can happen whether you’re having a fleeting exchange or a long heart-to-heart conversation, an idea we’ve looked at in the October series, Holy Conversations. However, in a desire to go deep, can we take personal responsibility too far?

Jane Lynch thought she had found the perfect AA sponsor. After a few minutes at the coffee table, the woman casually invited Lynch to join her well-established mentoring group. She thought their conversation couldn’t have gone better.

Imagine Jane’s reaction as she arrived to find the woman sobbing, surrounded by several group members. Jane was hardly a model AA member, but what could have gone so wrong so quickly?

“The meeting started, and I could barely listen for my self-mortification. I wanted the hour to end so I could ask her what it was I had done.

And then, all of a sudden, it hit me – boing! This had NOTHING to do with me. I felt a wave of relief, an internal shift like I had just had a chiropractic adjustment. I realized that I had made something that had nothing to do with me into something that was all about me.

I saw that I had been doing this all my life. When I was a kid, my mom was easily annoyed, and I always figured it was me bugging her. After growing up like that, I was forever making myself the cause of other people’s pain.

It was self-centered and rendered me incapable of compassion for others, because I’m no good to anybody else when it’s all about me. And frankly, most things have nothing to do with me. It was very adolescent, really.

I got it, suddenly and profoundly.”

In a flash, Jane’s subconscious habit of personalizing every situation ended. (And by the way, the woman was crying over her boyfriend’s infidelity.)

Like Jane, the people we’ve met in this series got it. Stepping back and taking a second look was often the key:

  • In “It’s Not About the Sail”, Kim’s turnaround came when she took the vulnerable step of acknowledging that she had to improve her emotional intelligence. She painfully admitted about her prior relationships, “I had no clue what the problem was.”
  • The couple in “A Million Ways To Say I Love You” traded having the last word in their constant arguments. Yet they realized that winning in the moment wasn’t much of a victory; it was starting to ruin their marriage.
  • It would have been understandable for Anu to talk over and shut down her teenage son in “I Hate You Is A Dialogue.” Trying to understand the fears and pain behind “I hate you” put an end to hard feelings.

We can shift hard conversations when we adjust what may have worked in the past to the present situation. It’s the ability to be flexible without losing your center – a Soul Boss cornerstone.

Tough exchanges come in all shapes and sizes, but here’s a go-to phrase that creates a holy conversation every time.

“I’m listening.”

Published by Michelle Mains