A realization came to me this week during an early morning meditation. Something I’d been sensing but hadn’t seen clearly. (this meditation thing…I’m just sayin’)
My husband and I do a decent amount of separate travel. Mainly for retreats, workshops, trainings, etc. We take our vacations together, or with the kids.
The past several trips, whether I’m the one away or he’s the one away, I’ve been noticing how much more relaxed I felt. How I didn’t feel constrained at all. Or tense, or stressed, or overwhelmed. It seemed that when we were apart, I felt more freedom to be me.
This was not so pleasant to think about. I love Scott, we’re very close and it bothered me that these feelings were coming up.
I brought it up after his last business trip and we had a conversation about it. Nothing fancy…just bringing awareness to something that was happening. No drama. No blame. Just kind of like, “Huh…look at that. I wonder what that’s all about.” We discussed our past judgments, how we are working through those and how to best let them go. No big deal.
Except that kind of conversation IS a big. deal.
So back to my meditation. What came up was…
as soon as i opened my eyes this morning, i looked at the clock. what time is it? he got out of bed. he always gets out of bed first. i wasn’t ready yet. this is a pattern. i said i was going to get up early this morning, but i stayed until 5:10. he’s going judge me. (that’s his old pattern.) he thinks i don’t follow through. he thinks i’m not committed…as soon as i opened my eyes I created instant judgment. he didn’t say a word. he’s in the midst of his morning routine, as i am mine. I created tension, judgment, stress, overwhelm and resistance. we haven’t even spoken to each other yet. i’m not seeing that nothing has happened. step back and just see it for what it is. i am creating a way of being that doesn't work very well. why not create one that does?
hmmmm….now we’re getting somewhere. I realized that as soon as I wake up every morning, I’m setting myself up for tension. For judgment. For stress. For anxiety and feelings of not being enough…before anything ever actually happens.
Instead of blowing this off and stepping over it like a tree that fell in the yard, I knew we had to talk about it.
The Structure of a Powerful Conversation
One that is responsible, adult, calm, authentic and transformative.
This is how it went after I briefly explained my feelings and meditation experience:
State how you’ve been inauthentic/pretending: I’ve noticed how I feel much more relaxed when you are away or I’m away.
When in fact: I don’t accept that or want that in my life.
The impact of my inauthenticity: The impact this has on me and our relationship is that I start the day feeling inferior.
What’s that like: Then I spend the day in a defensive state of anything you say or do, don’t want to be told what to do, and create resistance which keeps me stagnant in certain areas.
How this impacts others: This is why you don't understand my defensiveness or hesitation to move forward on certain commitments. This also why I sometimes get frustrated by the end of the day, because it’s exhausting.
I'm completely trapped in the concern of looking good or avoiding looking bad.
The beauty of this structure is that it focuses on YOU, not the other person. It’s all about you and your perception of what’s happened (or not happened.) Which is all you really have anyway. We all see the world and situations through our own filter, our own story.
It ended up in a beautiful conversation, that took all of about eight minutes. We broke through something that had been humming in the background. Now he has awareness of, and is sensitive to, that particular way of being for me.
This turned what could’ve been a big blowout, accusatory mess, into a substantial and meaningful connection.
Please feel free to use this structure in a conversation you may find difficult or may be avoiding, and let me know how it goes!