Did You Think You Could Win?
Intimacy has the potential to move us from power struggle to peace. When we give intimacy an opportunity to intervene, we create a breathing space, a gap in the struggle through which sanity may enter. And having the willingness and courage to invite intimacy in is all that is needed to begin.
Whenever you are in a power struggle
STOP! LOOK! LISTEN!
The first step is to STOP the struggle. Don’t give in to the temptation to have the last word. Just stop. Don’t worry. When you follow this protocol, you each will have the opportunity to share what was going on with you. The struggle stops when something new starts. It helps to have some new possibilities waiting in the wings ready to leap into the gap when the struggle stops. Not ready yet or sane enough to talk constructively? Here are some suggestions to assist in the return to sanity. (adapted from Life Coach Mary’s 7 paths to peace)
Take a time out. Shift your focus of attention.
For the body:
Do some movement – yoga, a workout, a run or walk, some physical labor
For the mind/emotions:
Say an affirmation to remind you of who you really are, what you really want.
Ask to be carried back to your center, to be realigned with Source.
Engage in a creative project. Write, paint, make or build something.
Feel the feelings without dramatizing them or obsessing over a story about them.
Get curious about what was really going on in the struggle – shift your perspective and look at it from another angle.
Think about what you were resisting – the assumptions or expectations that your “shoulds” were based on.
For the spirit:
Love yourself back to peace and power.
The second step is to LOOK. When you feel able to have a sane conversation with your partner, schedule a time to sit down and have a talk together.
LOOK at what each of you is resisting. Look far and wide and then zoom in to get a close look at the pattern that is playing out. What old memory tape was running that set up assumptions or expectations which you felt weren’t being met. Often the same old patterns are provoked out of a habitual response to a particular action or statement. This repetitive, unconscious act is an automatic reaction triggered by your perception that a button has been pushed
It requires courage and honesty to look deeply for the initial hurt and the response that was created to insure survival. Share your discovery with your partner. Mutual sharing is an act of vulnerability and often brings understanding and compassion. From this vantage point forgiveness of self and other is easier. In the words of Paul Boese “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” And in this place of a widened perspective more possibilities or options are evident and an appropriate choice may be made.
A great way to have this dialogue is to follow the Prather’s structured argument. Go to this link to get the full description.
The third step is to LISTEN. Deep listening requires that you focus your full attention on the other – that you BE PRESENT to and for them as well as for yourself. Be curious about what they share. Withhold any judgement. Be genuinely interested in them and what they have to say. Hear them out with no interruptions.
And finally, APPRECIATE your partner and the situation as an opportunity to grow. The struggle brings up the areas in your life where you could make a new choice. Be on the alert for those situations where a different choice would smooth the way for a happier more joyful life.