Saturday, February 20, 2016
Helping People I Love Love Each Other Better
It's been a beyond crazy week, but I got to do one of my favorite things this past week, and I think that the experience taught me a few things about systems and about people that I want to share with you.
I summed up the meeting I was in as by saying that "I love to help people I love love each other better."
I'm not going to tell you ANY details about the conversation to protect these people that I love but I do want to point out some things I learned. Some of this is repetition....
1) Systems can put people in a role that they do not recognize and that they end up feeling comfortable in.
2) When people are anxious, they go back to the role in which they are most comfortable.
3) Sometimes one person going to their role triggers something in another person, pushing them to their role. And that is when the fireworks start.
4) Often times these are people who love each other, personally or professionally, and want the same thing. But because they are shoving themselves farther and farther into dysfunctional roles, the issue escalates and seems like there is no way through the conflict.
5) When two people are on the verge of giving up at fixing their relationship, things don't get better, they get worse. There is a lot of anxiety in the "we are never going to be able to get beyond this" feeling.... and, in case I haven't repeated it enough, anxiety pushes people farther into those roles.
Are you getting the picture?
So what is the answer? Study the other person and the relationship, recognize your behaviors and why they are triggering the other person, make an effort not to go back into your anxious role, and commit again to not trigger the other, to forgive and to love well.
I am a firm believer that if you love someone enough, you can figure them out. Just think about your spouse for example (if you are married) and how many things annoying things you have had to overcome in order to live with them. But if you love them you figure out how to do the above.
If I am being vague, let me give you a personal example. I have a tendency to talk loudly when I am excited, angry, frustrated, having fun.... ok, so I just have a tendency to talk loudly pretty much all the time. And when I talk loudly and use a certain voice, I remind my husband of his mother. And when I do that, he shuts down and then we both head into ugly corners of dysfunction and anxiety that take a while to come out of. I wish I could say that we have this figured out, but I can tell you this:
When I make the mistake of talking in a voice that triggers him and we both go to our anxiety corners, or "dark places," and they fuel each other to the point where neither of us are recognizable as rational human beings..... we don't give up. We go back and remind each other of how we got to that place again. I promise to try and not do it again. Sometimes he hugs me :-) We forgive, we promise to try not to do it again, and we move on to the next time. And sometimes we make it a month, and some times we only make it seven minutes, but the key is that we DO NOT GIVE UP.
I was reminded as I mediated this work conversation this week, of how powerful it is to be part of helping others to recognize how they have gotten where they are and how they might be able to get beyond it. And I was grateful that God had given me enough insight to see the issues. But most of all I was just happy to help people I love who love each other to do it better.
I don't know why I am sharing all this with you except to say that the formula that I figured out this week can work in any situation and any relationship.
Dare I repeat it one more time?
1) Study the person and there relationship so you can recognize how you are contributing to the conflict.
2) Recognize where you head when you are anxious and figure out how to stop going there.
3) Notice words, statements and behaviors that that trigger you or the other person and try not to trigger or be triggered.
5) Love well. Love doesn't mean avoiding tough conversations. Love doesn't mean backing away and not pushing through. In fact, we could all use a reminder of exactly what love is and what it is not from I Corinthians 13
Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not envy.
Love does not boast.
Love is not proud.
Love does not dishonor others
Love is not self-seeking.
Love is not easily angered.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil.
Love rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects
Love always trusts
Love always hopes
Love always perseveres.
Love never fails.