Today’s post is comprised of excerpts from an article by Tina on her blog “Think Simple Now.” I would encourage you to read the entire article, which is titled “How to Keep a Relationship.” Tina is a passionate and engaging writer and I felt that this particular post was exceptional. Please keep in mind that we are starting in the middle of the story…
It is inevitable that partners are going to have different opinions, and everyone has days where their emotions can get the better of them. The problem is not that we have conflicts with our partner, the problem lies in the way we handle the situation. When our egos get in the way, our mind becomes clouded and we end up making mountains out of mole hills.
Some of us use these conflicts as an opportunity to answer: Is my relationship stronger than the problem? They use the situation as a way to measure the relationship stability. They fail to see that this question itself causes conflict, since it forces comparison. Instead, a more effective question to ask is: Are we mature enough as people to resolve the conflict with consideration, awareness and grace?
The following are some pointers that have proven to be effective in our relationship:
1. Awareness – Bringing awareness into the situation. Become the observer of your thoughts, your emotions, your needs, and your ego. Ask yourself,
- What is it I want at this moment?
- Is what I want from my heart or filtered by my ego?
- Will getting what I want help me become a better person?
- Will getting what I want bring happiness and fulfillment to me and those around me?
- What are the most important aspects in my life? Does getting this fit into my values?
2. Express, Don’t Suppress - Speak candidly and freely. Yes, the truth can hurt, but if you take responsibility for your words and speak with respect for the other person, the honestly and sincerity from your message will shine through. The other person will deeply appreciate you for it. Honestly not only releases your mental load, but also helps mutual understanding.
3. Recognize the Crying Baby – By bringing awareness into a situation, we will get better at recognizing when our partner is in the crying baby state. When they are in a baby state, it is highly beneficial if we remain calm. Don’t take what they say personally during this state, they don’t mean it.
4. How to Calm the Baby - The crying baby state is a primal state. We become irrational and unreasonable. We feel like we’re a little kid again crying for attention. With this in mind, what can our partner do to calm us when we ourselves are in a baby state? Sit down with your partner ahead of time to openly discuss what would make them feel better when they are this baby state? For example, to calm the baby in me, I would love to be held and caressed. To calm the baby in Adam, he wants to be focused on deep breath to draw out of that state of mind. What will calm the baby in you?
5. Pattern Interrupt – When we repeatedly do something, it becomes a habit. Instead of giving in to a comfortable action that doesn’t give you the result you want, interrupt that pattern by doing something (shockingly) unrelated or random. When you feel yourself going down a negative spiral, get up and do 10 jumping jacks with exaggerated movements, make funny faces, do a happy dance around the living room. This will help to bounce you out of that state of mind.
6. “Look into my Eyes” – If you see that your partner is in an irrational baby state or is upset, ask them to look into your eyes, even for just 30 seconds. When they are looking at your eyes, look back into their eyes and imagine passing an infinite amount of love towards them. Through their eyes, look for their soul. You may be upset too, just surrender to the moment, take some deep breaths, and focus only on their eyes and how beautiful they are.
7. Breathing – Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Take a few deep breaths and continue to breathe normally. Continue to do this for at least 5-10 minutes. Draw your focus into your lungs expanding and contracting. Feel the energy the air brings. As you change your focus, you will also change your mindset.
8. Ask yourself: “Am I arguing so that I could win the battle?” – If the answer is yes, ask yourself whether winning this battle will make a difference in your life in 40 years? How about tomorrow?
9. Ask yourself: “What is it about myself that I don’t like?” – Oftentimes, the arguments we get into are simply an extension of ourselves, though we may not realize it until we reflect at a later time. When we find ourselves jumping quickly into judging other people, we are really projecting what we dislike about ourselves on to that person. Observing our thoughts and behaviors toward others can expose our own insecurities on the subject matter.
10. Try on Different Shoes - Imagine yourself in your partner’s shoes. To the best of your ability, feel the pain the other person is experiencing. How does it feel? What is your new perspective like? For a few seconds, pretend that “Me” does not exist, and that you are now the other person. Experience their words and feelings as if your own. This simple exercise helps to give you compassion and consideration towards another’s point of view.
11. “How it made me feel.” - When communicating your points of view, always speak in terms of how something made you feel. Example, “When I didn’t hear from you, it made me feel that I was not important.”. Expressing how something made us feel instead of what we think they did wrong, reduces their instinctive need to feel defensive. When people are not on the fence about something, they are more likely to listen and be more willing to resolve an issue.
12. Step Out, Cool Off – Go to a different room, separate yourself for a few minutes to gain perspective and clarity. Do some deep breathing exercises. Re-group yourself and bring awareness into the situation. Regain a clear grasp of what is most important to you, and reevaluate whether the “fight” is worth battling.
13. Listen – Listen to the other person. Really listen to them. Give them the respect that you would like to have and give them a chance to speak without judging them. Surrender to the moment and just be there. Listen to them as if you were listening to yourself. Listen to them in the way you want to be listened to.
14. Forgive & Accept – Remember that inside, we are all good people. Really, we were all born innocent, loving, kind and generous. See the light in them, as you too have that light within yourself.
15. Apologize & Explain – Say I’m sorry and show that you mean it by explaining why you are sorry. Don’t be shy or let your pride get in the way. Life is short, do the right thing, instead of the thing right for your ego.
16. Relinquish Defensiveness – Relinquish the need to be defensive. Listen when the other person express their feelings. Don’t treat their expression as criticism, listen with acceptance and a genuine desire to love them. This is not a power struggle, it is a conversation. Your partner’s expression of their feelings and needs has nothing to do with you. And don’t tell the other person, “Stop being so defensive”.
17. Focus on What They Did Well – When we are upset with our partners, we tend to focus on what they did wrong, and qualities we believe to be character flaws. “What we focus on expands.” and these qualities amplify the more we give focus to them. This in turn makes us even more upset. Focus on what he or she has done right. Focus on the things we love about them. Focus on the beautiful characteristics that make them unique.
18. Stop Point Fingers – Placing blame will keep the fighting alive. It is a natural progression to blame our unhappiness and un-comfort on other people or events around us. I too have done this, many, many times. At the end of the day, the only thing we have control over is ourselves, and our reactions to life situations. Can we really blame others for our unhappiness? Instead, look within ourselves and see what we can proactively do to shift our thinking and perception of the situation such that we can feel happy? As one of my favorite quotes states so wisely, “We cannot control the wind, but we can direct the sail.” So true.
19. Gratitude – I’ve always found it helpful when feeling moody and argumentative to focus on the blessings in my life. By shifting our focus, we shift our state of being and move away from continuing to feel bad. List out the things you are grateful for today, close your eyes and thank every part of your body for its endless function, appreciate your surroundings, write in a journal on all things you are grateful for today, or read an old journal entry of your gratitude list.
20. Build Strong Sense of Self Worth – I believe that the insecurities that rise out of relationships are the result of insecurities we have with ourselves. We have to love ourselves before we can truly accept love from others. Dedicate time to building relationships with ourselves, and in the process, we will find that our insecurities slowly disintegrate and we end up falling in love with ourselves. We do not fall in love in an ego driven way, but in the same way we experience love and connection for all beings. Go on self dates, spend quality time with yourself, appreciate you, do things that feed your soul. What do you love to do that you wished you could do more of? For me, that’s reading.
Ladies, want to know how to rewire your man’s brain so he will pay more attention to you and start treating you better? You’ll want to read this article.