08/22/2012 07:25 am ET Updated Oct 22, 2012

Elevate the Conversation

If we believe we are here to improve the journey of our soul, we are charged with making the best choices to perpetually evolve to a higher good. We study, we go to therapy, we develop a spiritual practice and we try to do the right thing. The unfortunate part is that we are human.

We make mistakes, we get hooked by drama and forget that we know better and we may even get some pleasure from being a little wicked. Plus, let's face it, being conscious can be exhausting! It's so much easier to be a spiritual slouch!

More frustrating can be that slouch-hood can only last so long because you know better. With a pang of guilt and an urging from our soul, we snap back to attention and know we need to elevate the conversation -- the one in our own heads and the dialogue with others. We need to avoid the pitfalls and get back to "the path."

I am often in awe of people who can turn the most negative conversation toward the light. They are quite masterful in finding the high point to turn all the heads toward, without making anyone wrong or chastising anyone for their previous negative input. I can do that but I'm not always the one to remember to do it. I don't mind examining the underbelly of things. I find it fascinating and it only helps me understand how most people think. The mainstream is downstream. Most don't operate in the "elevation" upstream of things.

With that said, I'll gladly attempt to guide you to elevating a conversation. If your own head is feeding you dreck or if mean-spirited dishing sets in with others, follow these steps:

Catch it -- As soon as it starts, realize where things are headed and snap to attention.

Block and deflect -- Just as the savviest politicians do when faced with a negative accusation, deflect the question or comment. Say: " I don't know about that, but I do know _____ or I can say with confidence that _____."

Think solutions, not problems -- The quickest way out of any potentially downward conversation is to focus on a solution or positive instead of the problem, complaint or slanderous comment.

Skip three notches -- Here's the art: Like skipping three tracks on a CD, take the conversation (even if it's in your own head) somewhere entirely new, not even close to where it was headed or where it could take a turn down again.

Herd the stragglers -- Acknowledge anyone who is stuck in the negative or former conversation (even if it's you) and keep bringing them along. You might say something like: "I hear you AND we need 24 more votes to get where we want to be," or "It's been tough on everyone, but let's stick to the matter at hand," or "It's OK to take some time away from him/her, but let's try to have a good time tonight."

Before you know it, no one will remember (or they'll be too embarrassed to) the way the conversation was going before. You'll have successfully elevated the conversation. Will you get credit? No. But that's not the point. The point is to keep yourself on the path by not getting sucked into a conversation that would have been polluting to your soul.

Trash-talking can be fun sometimes, but like eating too much junk or drinking too much, there is a point of diminishing returns. If you buy the whole soul's journey and lifetimes incarnated for your soul to evolve, you'll want to avoid the pollution as much as possible. Elevate for good! I'll be right here, cheering you on and resisting temptation myself.

For more by Laura Berman Fortgang, click here.

For more on emotional intelligence, click here.