Book Review – Crucial Conversations

I am constantly in the middle of a book or three.  I recently had a book shown to me called Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High.  I approach books like this with what I currently am working on in my personal, professional, and spiritual life.  Typically there is one smoking gun I focus on, but when I began to absorb this book I had three different things that I was thinking about.  It made it more difficult to focus my thoughts and mindset while reading, and in hindsight I should have read it with one purpose, and then reapproached it for another.  I will return to this book, as I feel there is replay value in it.

Like the title states, it works to empower us to have conversations that are meaningful when stakes, tensions, and stresses are high.  I found a lot of myself in this book. The good and the bad. Things that I am doing that are productive, as well as things I am doing that are hindering progress in the conversations that matter most in my life.

I feel this book has real power for the ABDL community on a number of different layers.

  • In conversations with ourselves as we first begin to understand what we are feeling and experiencing
  • In sharing what you are feeling with someone else.  Perhaps a parent, friend, or therapist/counselor.
  • In talking with your significant other or spouse.  For me, the most intense of the three to even consider.

Crucial conversations, not done well, have the propensity to become rinse and repeat.  When we can’t have the right conversation, we will repeat it because we don’t begin by getting ourselves right, create a good pool of shared meaning, and creating an action plan where people are held responsible.  There is such a danger here because the conversation between a spouse or loved one and an ABDL is a very scary, tense, and potentially dangerous can of worms to open for any relationship. I always suggest that couples make sure they are on solid ground before they make this a part of their lives.  It is a straining conversation, and you need to have your house in order for the best chance of success.

The book discusses that the best way to work on us is to start with me.  We must be able to first be honest with ourselves, and have crucial conversations that will bring about real, lasting change in our lives.  Once we are able to be vulnerable enough to admit to ourselves our weaknesses we can then have those similar conversations with someone else.  We must start with heart, don’t lose sight of our motives.  

Crucial conversations may not be a one-time thing.  We will have many crucial conversations in our lives.  It is not just going to be about diapers. You can have crucial conversations about anything that causes tension and stress in our lives.  When the stakes are high, strong opposing opinions are present, and emotions are connected we are at the place where a crucial conversation needs to occur.  We must continue to remind ourselves and ask ourselves, “What do I really want here?”  When the conversation gets heavy, when someone begins to be violent or silent, we must remind ourselves and the other party what the outcome is what I, and we, are working towards.

One of the biggest concepts taught in this book that I find relating to diapers is that when we don’t communicate, others will create their own story.  When we share our affinity, quirk, desire, fetish, or attraction to diapers we leave the opportunity for those around us to create their own story if we do not share.  One of the biggest issues I had when I first shared my affinity for diapers with my wife was that I didn’t know how to share them. I didn’t know what to share. I had never even said out loud, “I like to wear diapers.” I did not have the crucial conversation right the first time, but I feel that we have built well on each of them.

Each of our conversations have not been completely positive and constructive in nature, but we are learning from our trials and becoming better together.  I promise you that you will be able to find the right way to share who you are with your spouse, loved one, or parent. It takes two egos to do battle, and it only takes one to help stop the cycle.  Only one person has to be able to bring down the tension and stress, and try and level out the conversation by bringing back the purpose of what we hope we are trying to accomplish.

I will tell you that there is a power, a lightening, a release in our ability to share our burden with someone else.  I considered diapers a burden for decades because I carried them on my own. I shamed, hated, and beat myself up mentally over and over because of what I had attraction to.  
There are many great parallels to other professional development principles, and I plan to delve back into other concepts like Covey’s seven habits and perhaps even Emotional Intelligence in the future because I believe they can help us at home, at work, and at play. 

I absolutely recommend this book to anyone needing to have a conversation of any significance with someone else.  It will help with diapers, it will help with your children, it will help with your job.

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