Maybe it’s my time of the month because I have been particularly defensive and irritable. This very morning my sweet husband made the mistake of laughing at something I said. I was not trying to be funny.
I felt demeaned and disrespected. I felt I was right and defended my opinion at all costs. Have you ever felt disrespected? Judged? As if no one is listening, let alone caring about your opinion?
The first step is redefining respect. Respecting my partner is not the same as agreeing with him or his actions.
Respect has nothing to do with who is right and who is wrong. It has to do with allowing space for someone else’s opinion.
The second step is to allow space for his/her opinion while owning that you disagree. If your partner, friend or colleague has a different opinion (or way of life), you don’t need to fight until they admit they’re wrong. You definitely don’t need to defend yourself.
The third tricky step is admitting the truth: As right as you think you are, he thinks he is right too. Get curious. Ask questions. Respect him enough to let him disagree with you. Phew. Hold space for him to be different.
The truth is that most of the time when I think my husband is judging or demeaning me, I am actually judging and demeaning him. What do they call that? Oh right, projecting.
This week, notice if your partner or friend says or does something that makes you defensive or judgmental. Notice your ego’s need to prove and protect your opinion. Notice the urge to control or change their ways.
Hold space for their unique reasons without the agenda of changing their mind. A simple, “I understand why you feel/believe/do that” will transform your relationship. Your job is never to fight for ‘my way or the highway’ but to point out that every highway has multiple lanes. The more you hold space for their lane, the easier you make it for them to hold space for you.
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