What if your spouse, loved one, best friend is not the bad guy? What if you aren’t either?
Let’s be honest, sometimes it feels good that the other person is the “bad guy”. Then we get to be right, justified and safe. At the same time, we know that actually isn’t worth much in the long run.
Being right doesn’t win over getting to growing as a person or having a better relationship.
Let’s start with this basic assumption: the people you have in your inner circle (the ones you brought into that space) are not bad people AND they are probably not intentionally trying to hurt you. Can we agree on that?
Yet, uncomfortable situations, hurt feelings, anger, disappointment, frustration, jealousy, irritation, overwhelm, guilt… that kind of hard stuff shows up in your inner circle relationships. Actual emotional health means we have access to navigate the ENTIRE RANGE of human emotion.
So, just because something uncomfortable comes up between you and someone else doesn’t mean that someone is bad. It means, there is a chance to actually grow as people and have a stronger relationship with all the good stuff in there: more trust, love, closeness, vulnerability, fun.
Why? Because we are human beings growing through things. And we pick these inner circle people to grow with through life.
Also important to remember: It takes two to tango. The problem nor the solution are one sided. No matter how justified you feel. We push each other’s buttons, we have complementary “stuff” that we bring up with one another. For the purpose of evolving.
Here’s the game:
You and the other person will need to come to an agreement that you are willing to play this game. This is crucial. It won’t work unless you have willingness on both sides. It does require a level of self awareness and ability to communicate as well.
When something happens that is painful or uncomfortable, make a commitment to talk about it. Yup, bring it up. You might not be ready to talk about it right then. You might need some time to get clear on your feelings and what came up for you, but make a point to acknowledge it and commit to talking about it together.
Do some reflection on what this interaction brought up to the surface for you to be able to see about yourself and how you interact in relationships.
Ask yourself some of these questions:
When else have I felt like this?
What does this remind me of?
How did I contribute to this challenging situation?
Where else do interactions like this come up in my life?
How do I want to show up instead (baby steps are fine!)?
How could I do this differently next time so it is better for me and us?
Realize that it is a gift this is coming up with someone you love and trust. That way you get the chance to ACTUALLY resolve it instead of sending it to the back of the line of repeating patterns that will definitely show up again. And, what I find is that when people actually resolve repeating patterns, what they really want is on the other side. If you can get to this place before you talk about it with your person, you are in a great space that is not emotionally charged to be able to be receptive and collaborative.
Come together with your person and share about what you noticed about yourself, what you got to see in a new light because of the fact that it came up between you, how you see a pattern that is outdated and no longer needed that you are willing to give up to be able to have a better relationship or be a better person. Listen with compassion to what they share.
And, there you go. You are better as a person and your relationship is better. Your conflict did not harm your relationship or waste your time. And no one is the bad guy.
We are not here to make each other happy. We are here to make each other better.