Recall the last conversation you had with your partner.
Did you look at them?
Did your eyes communicate “I see you?”
Did your heart communicate “I’m listening?”
Did you look at them — really look at them and hold them with regard?
We can so often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily living that we forget to MAKE EYE CONTACT with our partner. We can get so caught up in our interpretations, sulking in our hurts, mired in the story we’ve created, as our anger grows and we feel even more justified and RIGHT. We can get so caught up in our habitual ways of interpreting and reacting.
Soon these fleeting moments turn into “the norm.” We can spend years this way. Decades. Even a lifetime.
How lonely. What a waste. There is much more happiness available to us than this!
Folks can often come to therapy with a laundry list of complaints about their partner (or children). They want to know how to “get” their partner to do, say, or feel something. I save them several long, expensive, fruitless sessions: you can’t.
We can’t GET anyone to do anything. The only thing we have “control” of is OURselves. OUR reactions. OUR actions, words, and emotions.
We live in a “me, me, me” culture. And we live in the extremes — either totally negating “me” or totally wrapped up in “me” mode.
This does not work for being in a healthy and flourishing relationship.
Have regard for your Self. Acknowledge what is happening within you at any given moment. BE with arises. Truly, some need will arise. A deep need from the heart. Share that need with your partner.
Have regard for your partner. LIIIIIIISTEN. Listen with the eyes and ears of your heart for the underlying need that is being expressed. Let your whole BODY communicate, “I SEE YOU.”
This week, vow to yourself, if you feel moved to, that you will practice treating yourself and your partner with REGARD. And when you don’t, just wake up, acknowledge that, and begin again. There is ALWAYS time to begin again, this time, with your heart postured for listening and acting with kindness.
Want some great info on compassionate communication? Check out the Center for Nonviolent Communication . This is an international organization for communicating with compassion – with our partners, children, co-workers, etc.