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    « Some notes on how our practiced emotions alter our view of the world | Main | If you want something... »

    Resolving relationship problems

    There's a tendency to think that most relationship problems can be fixed by more talking. In my experience, that's only true if the "more talking" is happening in a different, better emotional context than the one that the original problem occurred in.

    By different or better I mean broader-minded, more understanding, more inclusive; less adversarial and argumentative -- a more collaborative and constructive context.

    Problems can't be solved in the same context in which the problem occurred. There has to have been additional discovery or insight or understanding in order to be able to find solutions.

    In other words, more-of-the same won't work, defensiveness won't work. Anything argumentative won't work well at all.

    It's hard to learn anything when you're fearful, angry or sad. Sometimes the feelings have to soften or improve before any new perspective is possible. Hard or hurt feelings keep problems going.

    Problem solving isn't a win-lose proposition. It isn't about "who's right." it's more about, "what can we both live with?" (And love with.)

    Problem resolution is never, "See, I was right all along." Problems are resolved when both parties are satisfied. It feels more like "Well, I guess we both learned something here." And it feels better, not worse, for both parties.

    Arguing never solved a problem. It may move things forward if you win an argument, but everyone loses in the long run. The problem remains.

    Before we can talk more, we need to find a way to understand more, and we need to find a perspective on the situation that feels better than the one we had, a more inclusive and less adversarial point of view.

    You can't force things without breaking things.

    Easy does it.


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