This first appeared at the Happiness Series, March 2, 2011.
Graceful Love, Part 1
By Peter Ferko
Imagine a graceful relationship. Fantasy, right? I used to get upset that my romantic partners and I could not maintain the common civility that’s so easy with everyone else I know. But over the years, it became clear that those intimate relationships we create are like laboratories for expanding our abilities in so many areas: patience, compassion, understanding, unconditional love.
Ah, you may say, but what to do about the annoyance, demands, guilt trips, temper tantrums… need I go on?
This topic needs an encyclopedia, but I’ll try to provide some insights one by one over a series of posts. Working on even one will be a good challenge — and will, I guarantee, make a difference in your relationships.
So here we go, drumroll please, first thing to do to make your relationship more graceful:
Give up your need to be right. What?! I know, you thought you were going to get your way, that things were going to get easier. But where’s the growth in that?
What do you get when you find yourself in a ‘discussion’ and you let go of the need to 1) have the last word, 2) get him/her to admit you were right, or 3) prove your point logically? You get space. A clear open space where you’re not pushing back against the person you theoretically love. In that space, the most remarkable things happen. You might realize that your partner’s idea is actually pretty good. You might see that most things don’t matter at the level we try to control them. You might find that your partner is so transformed by being acknowledged — it might help him/her break through old patterns of feeling misunderstood, undervalued, etc. Plus, if your partner knows you don’t always insist on getting your way,he/she will be more likely to listen when that certain something comes up that really is important to you.