If there is one thing I hear over and over when working with couples it’s this: “We are not communicating”.
This can mean a number of things: 1) Partner A talks (a lot); partner B is not listening. 2) Partner A talks (a lot); partner B doesn’t. 3) Partner A makes a comment; partner B interprets it as something totally different. 4) Partner A and B are not talking at all. 5) Partner A and B are talking at the same time.
The common factor in all those situation is lack of compassion and kindness, both toward your partner and yourself. If you want to resuscitate communication (and the love in your relationships), remember kindness.
Kindness is the currency of compassion. It’s how we share compassion and pay it forward.
Kindness settles our frozen accounts with past attachment losses (abandonment, affairs, name calling, criticism) and generates interest for future investments in our relationship.
It’s tragic that we have so little of it when we need it most.
There are many reasons for this lack: fear of vulnerability, helplessness, self-loathing, righteousness, physical, mental or emotional exhaustion. A kind word or gesture is the last thing we can give when we are barely holding it together. For holding it together we must, or else we’d fall apart, and this we can’t afford.
But here is the irony: we fall apart anyhow, often along with our relationship (start yelling, throw tantrums, sleep in different beds, contemplate divorce). And all because we couldn’t afford to be kind when it was needed most.
Next time you have a chance, seize it. Step back from the harrowing battle of wills and, literally, outside. The front of the house will do. Take in your surroundings: trees, grasses, things that grow. One of my all time favorite prayers comes from the Ute nation. Repeat it if you like:
“Earth teach me to remember kindness as dry fields weep with rain.”
Feel your feet. Acknowledge how they carry you around all day wherever you wish. Appreciate their kindness.
Feel your knees. Acknowledge how they give your momentum stride. Appreciate their kindness.
Feel your hips. Acknowledge how they hold everything together. Appreciate their kindness.
If you need help remembering to be kind to yourself and others, give me a call. I look forward to meeting you.