Why is it that we can be so impatient or cruel with the people we love the most?
We can all think of partners and family members who we love, but are sometimes short and ill tempered with...
At a certain point, romantic relationships can go from the honeymoon phase to meeting their first conflicts. Discovering ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ about each other is a natural part process when you’re growing together as a couple. However, if we get into bad communication habits in this new ‘naked’ territory, we can end up in what seem like endless conflict and drama cycles.
How can we catch ourselves before we get into those conflicts? How can we get out of them quickly and with grace? How can we come back to love so that we can learn and grow together?
What really hurts in you right now? What are you afraid of happening? Share that. This means sharing from “how I feel” not “you did this!” Trying to be right, attacking and defending simply keeps the back and forth going. What you really want is to be seen, felt and understood. Sharing your vulnerability will do this. Bonus: be spontaneous rather than precalculated.
Truly listen. Do your best to hear and understand them, rather than waiting for your turn to prove yourself right. What are they feeling right now? What are they seeing? Let your heart be soft, rather than hard as you listen.
Rather than interrupting each other or playing ‘argument tennis’ with constant back and forths, allow for spacious communication. Allow yourself to speak without feeling rushed. This is great because you can feel more certain you’re being truly heard! And you can hear your partner... Setting a timer and sticking to it can be really helpful. Four or five minutes is plenty, and you can do a second round. Bonus: We really just want to be understood, so briefly repeating back what your partner has said after they’ve completed sharing can feel incredibly honouring and disarming.
“It’s more important to be in love than be right.” When said with an open heart, “sorry” is a magical word that can build bridges, disarm, and collapse an argument in seconds. Even if you are hurt and sure that you’re right, there is probably something you did or said that you would like to take back. War can be so messy, even for the innocent. Even if it’s just a small sorry, it’s worth saying. Here are some examples,“I’m sorry I hurt you,” “I’m sorry I reacted that way,” “I’m sorry I was so fast to assume that.”
Grudges and carrying the hurts of yesterday will drag your relationship down. It’s impossible to nurture chemistry, playfulness and trust if you’re constantly being reminded of all your past mistakes. After you’ve both said what needs to be said and really heard each other, it’s time to forgive and leave it all behind you. Forgiveness means acknowledging that someone hurt you and releasing them from being the ‘baddie’. It means not withholding your love from them. This doesn’t mean being a doormat or that you don’t have boundaries, but it does mean you get to put your unconditional love into practice. Let it go. You’re free now. They’re free now. You can move on.
If this is helpful, let us know!
Always happy to hear other game changers for more harmonious relating, get in touch with your insights — we'd love to hear from you.
Caitlyn is an artist, writer, embodied spirituality and mindful sexuality practitioner, facilitator, and podcast host.
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