31 Oct Justice is Not to be Found
Last week we spoke about “being the change we want” in our lives and I made reference to relationships. So I thought it might be a good idea to talk over the next few weeks about a few tips for improving our relationships. Remember we are on this journey together and we are using our journey through our own lives as our spiritual awakening or our own private retreat.
Relationships are probably the best place to start because they are the one place we seek happiness and fulfilment, yet many relationships invariably cause us suffering, misery and unhappiness.
No one will ever, “make you happy”- that is something you need to find for yourself. You can then share your happiness with a partner. Very often if someone is not happy in themselves, they might bring into the relationship their misery to be shared. Of course, many will argue that this person is “the answer to their dreams and that they were so lucky to find them “. This may be the case initially, but is it the case 20 years down the track?
As ‘Dr Phil’ puts it; “there are deal breakers” in relationships. We are going to focus on only “our” relationship and on improving our state of happiness within it.
One of the biggest mistakes in that it leads to disappointment and false beliefs about the partner and their integrity is, seeking “justice” in our relationships.
I’ll give you an example, a women might say to her partner, “Every time you’ve been sick, I did this, this, and this for you. But when I got sick, you didn’t do any of it” Of course, I have used the situation of “being sick” but that could be replaced with any situation. The point is – one partner is establishing the terms for a situation, on the basis of their actions. If their partner is not responding as they do, did or would have, then the assumption is that- “it’s not fair.”
If the mind says, “it’s not fair”- then the resentment sets in. With resentment you start to hold back your feelings until the partner ‘redeems themselves’. However, what the partner feels is resentment and you will get resentment back. On the reverse side of things, you have become the ‘change you did not want’. Like we spoke of earlier, even though it is a heightened sense of love and appreciation that we are seeking, the resentment we are feeling is being reflected back upon us.
It is probably helpful to remember that you and your partner are unique in every sense of the word. We do things differently, have different levels of skill and ability, different energy levels, and even encode information and reconcile information differently. So it is impossible and dangerous to expect that we would behave the same under similar circumstances.
Sometimes letting go of the little things in the scheme of the larger picture is the key and thinking with your heart, as I call it, is an extremely helpful way to accept small differences.
Learning to be kind and not right is a way that seems to be less travelled but leads to greater happiness. Everyone is right or feels right from their perception, whether clouded by emotions or past hurts. Yet kindness travels through all emotional blocks and speaks all languages.
I have watch many people arguing or in heated discussions and what I see over and over is each person trying to be right. There is factual information “1+1=2” and there are opinions.
Opinions are formulated over past learning and represent a difference in mental stance. I have also witnessed, and probably been guilty of too, shifting the goalpost throughout the argument until it looks like you’ve WON. It would probably be fairer to say that no one WINS because both parties are usually trying to be right and that’s why the argument has become heated in the first place. So this shifting of the entire point of difference, that people do, to find some ground on which to be right-usually ends in frustration as either party has not been able to prove their superiority on this score.
It is far more beneficial to any relationship to diffuse the argument with kindness. Try to see the other person’s point of view and acknowledge their contribution to the “discussion”. Dr Demartini talks about diffusing arguments by addressing the other person’s needs first. The need could be anything from having to be heard, having to be right, having to be considered, ensuring their need has been considered and the list goes on.
If you are attentive, you can easily decipher what is most needed by the ‘opposition’ and once you have addressed it, then you will find that your counterpart is more than willing to find some common ground, and you will have prevented the escalation of emotions that leads to arguing.
The Dali Lama says, “In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situations. Don’t bring up the past.”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but in my experience “we women” are a little more likely to be guilty of this one. I know, I know, it’s only ever brought up “to make a point”- but it doesn’t work. More often than not, and again, correct me if I’m wrong, the males tend to take it as yet another attack, another “put down”.
My rule of thumb is “do what works”. Do what creates a loving atmosphere in the home.
A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation of your life.