Anyone who knows Pink Apple, even marginally, would be surprised to discover that I might consider writing about restraint!
You see, "direct" and "blunt" are more likely to be the words people might use about me. "Calls a spade, a bloody shovel" might even be said!
While I would not debate that those are the elements that most people would know of me, I am also capable of restraint. It means I need to exercise a choice that is not my natural habit, but I can, and do, exercise restraint when I need to. (Methinks she doth protest too much!, so I'd better shut up!)
As I listen to some of my clients, I am sad to hear them relate stories of failing to restrain themselves when it might have helped.
When the fight is on, and it's far from fair, (and in fact downright dirty), THAT'S the time for restraint.
Cheryl Richardson's recent newsletter article entitled Protect Your Relationship, lists some clues that might be good flags that it's time to exercise restraint and STEP AWAY!
- You can't think clearly.
- You feel like screaming.
- Your emotional reaction feels bigger than the current situation warrants.
- It feels like powerful energy (read:anxiety) is coursing through your veins and you feel compelled to react.
- You feel angry and know there's a good chance you'll say something mean or stupid that you'll regret later on.
So what IS restraint? Or, more to the point, HOW do you restrain?
Well of course, part of the difficulty is that you feel like you're rapidly spinning into a whirlpool! But it's OK, safe ground is ONE STEP away! (And that step involves turning in the opposite direction!)
Before you turn around, step onto that safe ground, and buy yourself some time, you need to say some HONEST words.
"I can't talk about this EFFECTIVELY now, can we come back and find a solution later?" Of course, it's MUCH better if you don't SPIT these words at someone, so the first step is ACTUALLY a DEEP breath, and preferably three or four!
So HOW is simple, when you write it! But Pink Apple knows all too well, how hard it can be to do these three things. (Yes, the third is coming!)
- Take 3 or 4 deep breaths (takes a few seconds)
- "I can't talk about this effectively (that's the CRITICAL WORD) at the moment, so can we talk later?" (that's about 3 seconds)
- Turn around, without any flouncing, huffing, sighing, extra comments under your breath, or anything else (see, I KNOW this scene) and walk gently away! (another two seconds)
Bingo! Restraint! And it's taken about 10 seconds MAX!
The most difficult part is getting into the recognition of the need for restraint! That's why Cheryl's clues were so striking when I read them.
Go back and read them again! As you read through them, you can practically hear the sirens wailing, and the bells ands whistles sounding the alert! And that's what you need. Some kind of alert and at least one of those listed will be something that happens for you.
This week, in a moment of minor frustration, (maybe you give a sigh and that's your clue), try taking three or four deep breaths. With those breaths, you are beginning the first lesson of restraint. Try and practise each day. You'll be surprised at how such simple training can actually make a difference when the fight's on and it's gettin' nasty!
I SO admire SweetP for having learned this technique, and really he's the one who should be taking any accolades for Pink Apple being able to do it.
When the fight's on, you both need to soothe yourselves, find your real belief (rather than your reaction) and bring them to a later discussion to be able to solve problems
As I keep saying to anyone who'll listen:
Problem solving = gathering data, brainstorming ideas, implementing something new, and evaluating how it worked.
But in relationships, the data MUST include not just facts and figures, but the FACTS of each other's opinions and feelings. If you don't accept that those precious items are facts, that's fine. I don't expect everyone to agree with me!
The only difficulty is that I see far too many people who can't see how that might be important, but also can't see why their relationship is crap!
If, in a relationship, you are not prepared to find compromise and win/win solutions, then get ready for the slow, toxic, seep of poison into your world.
It's not much fun and it's very costly to your emotional, spiritual, and financial health. More potently, the lessons your children learn, from seeing that lack of compromise and positive relating, just keep our world spiralling further into conflict.
If you don't know how to make a change, then maybe it's time for a call to Pink Apple.
Yeah, I know, those last few paragraphs was Pink Apple having one of my BLUNT moments!
So dear reader, here's your questions:
What's the best clue for you that the whirlpool is beginning?
How many times have you been able to recognize it this week?
How often do you and your partner find win/win solutions to the problems, big and small, that impact your daily lives?