“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” ~ Ralph Nichols
Life and relationships will inevitably have some rough spots. There may be an issue at work, or a conflict with a parent, spouse or child. Hopefully, as we go through life we will develop the skills to resolve these issues in healthy ways.
What is unhealthy is taking things too personally, and reacting with anger, resentment and judgment. All this does is to escalate the situation, creating more things for both sides to feel upset about. If this is a pattern that exists between two people, they likely have the sense that they have the same argument over and over, but nothing ever gets resolved.
If we are blaming someone for making us feel a certain way it is unlikely resolution will come, because we cannot make others responsible for how we feel. We have a better chance of finding resolution if we target specific behaviors and set boundaries around those.
If we say, “I do not want you to talk to me like that anymore,” the person does have the power to honor our request. If he or she agrees, and keeps to that agreement, then there is resolution.
If we say, “You just do not respect me,” or “You do not care about me,” we are projecting what we believe to be true of the other onto him or her, and if they disagree with our assessment, all we have is an argument that no one will ever win.
If we are successful in identifying specific behaviors and getting agreement about the changes required, it is important then to let it go. If someone makes the effort to change the behavior we need to give credit for that, and refrain from throwing the old behavior back in their face. There is nothing that can be done to change the past, and using it as ammunition will only escalate a current argument.
It is hard to move forward if we are dragging along all the baggage from the past. This will inevitably happen if all requests to change behaviors have been ignored. A good relationship, whether personal or professional, involves listening to one another, and being willing to make adjustments that serve the good of all.
Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.
Related MP3s Available:
Conflict Resolution in Relationships
Communication in Relationships
When Relationships Break Down