72 far awayI invite you to consider how you hear…how and to what you listen…when you think you’re listening to the person you’re with.

Last time I posited a scenario familiar to most: arriving home your loved one launches into an oft-repeated grievance about dear little innocent you—and instantly—inside your head, you are far, far away.

Rather than hearing what’s said, you recount the other person’s failings, outrage at being accused without merit yet again, maybe the despair you feel to be “here again”, and frequently your subconscious connects this event to that of your most prolific critic earlier in life…72 auto pilot

See, your ‘autopilot’ has kicked in, and now words, emotions, and actions pour out as if programmed by some diabolical ‘mission control’ determined to crash-land the relationship.  And, since your beloved also has autopilot, the ensuing hailstorm of insults, emotional flooding, and furious vitriol is both familiar and painful.

All the while, no one’s listening!

72 family danceI call this your “Family Dance”. All couples have one. As if performing well-practiced, intricate choreography, each of you steps, spins, moves, shimmies, and twirls with near-perfect synchronicity. She moves forward—he steps back—she leans left—he spins right—except that the carnage produced is anything but beautiful. If you filmed your last dozen breakdowns each would be a nearly identical replica of the others.

It is this way because as a couple you’ve ‘trained yourselves’ to break down this way! This is the third Audition Delusion: you two break down this way not because you married a crazy person. It the way you’ve trained yourselves to be in breakdown!

Crazy, but TRUE!

My invitation: have a different breakdown next time.

Since this way clearly isn’t working, DO ANYTHING ELSE!

If you’re silent, make yourself speak.

If you attack, don’t. Instead, hold your tongue ‘til your mate weighs in.

If you run, sit still. It will not kill you.

If you use sarcasm as a bludgeon, determine to be sincere and kind.

72 focusAnd, soon as your notice your autopilot kicking in, lock your attention on your mate’s words. Try to hear every word.

Each time the autopilot kicks in, re-cement your focus on your partner: What is she saying? What is she feeling?

Don’t miss this moment to hear.

It takes discipline to listen generously. And, it is an enormous gift to actually hear someone well.

 

 

Coaching distinctions #72.doc