Written August 23, 2016(edited 2017)
Ask yourself this. Do you love who you are with? Friends, family, spouse or significant other? You know, your various circles of people. I’m not talking about just having a rough day and one person sniping at the other or you’re all out fighting with someone in your life. I’m talking about loving a person thru thick and thin, for better or worse – no matter what.
There is so much that goes on in our lives. We are bombarded with all kinds of information, stimuli, different personalities and feelings depending on what’s going on that, for some of us, it’s just to overwhelming. Then, when we get home, all to often, we take our stuff out on our loved ones and friends. What happens next? Ding!! … Round 1!! After that it all goes down the crapper. One person is angry, even feeling spiteful or vengeful and the other feels sad, hurt, lonely or even angry and spiteful too. There is good news tho.
The goods news is that much of that stuff is temporary. There’s a little saying that I’ve learned, “Feelings are not fact”. This is especially true when you’re fighting with someone in your life that you love.
Think of a time when you were growing up and you were fighting with your best friend or sibling. You both probably ended up walking away from each other saying, “I hate you!!!” only to get back together the next day or 2, sometimes 5 or 7…. Lol! Many times when we’re fighting with someone, the issue that’s being argued about can be resolved and what comes from that is new growth. And when you came back together the relationship and the bond between you got stronger I’ll bet. Just like in nature, when the leaves fall in autumn this triggers new growth in the spring. Roots get longer and go deeper to make the tree strong enough to withstand storms. Perhaps that’s a bad comparison but thanks to my dear friend Doug I’ve learned much more about life just by observing nature.
So how do we get from “I hate you” to “I love you”? Now, this is just my opinion or what I’ve found works. First and foremost, ask yourself, “Do I love this person? Do I want this person in my life and if so, in what capacity? Is this person to toxic for my life?” If you answered yes and you want to keep that person in your life, each person needs to own up to their part in the mess. We cannot blame the other person because 1) this doesn’t help the situation and 2) usually each of us plays some part in the fight – even if you said something in “that” tone of voice.
Say the argument, for simplistic purposes, is about milk being left out on the counter. Maybe you asked to have the milk put in the fridge but it sounded more like a demand. Also one person needs to own up to the fact that they should’ve said something about putting the milk away and the other should have done it anyway(milk… fridge. Kinda obvious what should happen). It serves no purpose to blame each other for what happened because many times this just makes things worse. Defenses go up, then voices go up,tempers flare, and people walk away from each other each saying, (or screaming) “I hate you!!” either out loud, under their breath or I their head. Finally, and sadly, resentments are formed.
Another thing we can do, which is also very important, is to communicate and while doing that we need to be quiet and listen. Not so you can think of a good comeback. I’m talking about active or empathetic listening. “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply.”(Steven R Covey). Ask yourself if you’re truly listening to the other person or if you’re being distracted by your own chatter. Sometimes, listening means staying silent to give the other person a chance to talk. Then we soak it in, and perhaps respond if a response is needed.
To many times we, myself included, listen with the intent to reply. What comes out of our mouth when we do that usually makes things worse. This is when we can say things that we’ll regret later. When you listen to the other person, I mean really listen and look into their eyes, put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Think to yourself, “How would I feel if this were me? How would I feel if (s)he said or did these things to me?”
When we are able to practice Spiritual Principles like compassion, acceptance, tolerance, patience and others, we can come to a better understanding of each other. Best of all when the two of you can resolve the issue or the argument that’s new growth. Your relationship and bond with the other individual gets stronger. There is a deeper sense of love for one another no matter if it’s your family, friend, or spouse/significant other.
However, the best, if not only, way move past the fighting on and on to achieve that strength and growth is with two-way, active, empathetic communication – not thru electronic communication either. Stuff gets all twisted up and misconstrued that way. Matter of fact, when sitting together to work things out, put that electronic junk in another room all together. This way neither one of you will be distracted by phone calls, text messages or that urge to check out your social media page during an uncomfortable, awkward moment. Or worse yet, to post about what’s going on. You never know what’s going to come from your talk. Remember what I said earlier in this post? “Feelings are not fact”. You could be angry and resentful right before then love each other later. Now, if only this would be done on a larger, even global scale.
***Please be sure to read more of my posts