Tuesday, January 29, 2013
One of the most amazing and simple options (though definitely not easy) we have - especially when we are hurting, angry, frustrated, hopeless - is to ask questions. To get interested and curious.
Questions are a good relationship tool, as well as a good trick for helping us to understand ourselves better.
Often, we ask all the right questions, but we ask them without really stopping to ask them for real.
For example, "Why me?" "What's wrong with you?" "What's the matter with me?" "Why doesn't s/he pay better attention to me?" "Why did this happen to me?" "Why does this keep happening to me?" "What do you want from me?" "Why can't you just do what I need you to do?"
I could go on and on with examples. But the point is this. Usually when we ask these questions of our partners or of ourselves, we ask with a tone of fury or attack. Self attack or attack of our partners. The same is true when others ask it of us. And tone usually reflects lots of hot feelings that are important and need to get aired and sorted out.
But it's sad in a way, because when we ask them with an attack tone, things get can get much worse. And when we stop there, and just ask the questions as if they are only expressions of our pain, we miss out on the best and most promising part. These questions, when asked with gentleness, sincerity and openness and a willingness to really understand our underlying fears and motivations and defenses and needs, and those of our partners, lead to much better everything. Better communication, better love, better grace all around.
Just the pause and the right kind of tone and question can give our partner and our own self a feeling of being heard, validated, listened to, joined, loved. We don't have to agree; we just have to be willing to be curious before being explaining or arguing. We have to be willing to pause long enough for the muck to get sorted through and more layers revealed.
It's hard when we feel wronged or deprived. And we don't really do it so naturally. We have to practice. To help ourselves to want to be open and curious about different levels of understanding our psyches and our partner's psyches. To not be tied always to our worst beliefs about them or about ourselves. But if we don't allow for a new way of approaching things, where else is there to go?