Marilyn Briant is the author of The Pax Principles, The Leopard and The Mouse, and Arms Out-Kiano Sees The World.
Thinking About Voicing Concerns
Feeling frustrated recently, I thought I would give someone close to me a piece of my mind! I would point out all the ways in which their behavior bothered me, things that could be improved. I would voice my disappointment with certain aspects of our relationship.
And then I thought again.
Questions arose in my mind about how this constructive feedback would be received. About my intention in sharing those thoughts. And about the end result of such a conversation.
Will my partner want to listen to what I have to say? Will the truth of my words inspire change? Will the outcome of this conversation contribute to bringing us closer together?
And as I sat and thought about these questions, I asked myself how I would feel if someone told me the same things. Thought about whether I would react negatively or respond positively.
Meditating Before Speaking
As always, getting quiet and going within helped. I realized that it is important to consider the purpose of speaking, of sharing your thoughts. I wondered why I don’t always do this. Why there are times I let my ego have control of my thoughts and then go in the wrong direction.
I thought about how often I was on the receiving end of someone else’s criticism or complaints when I was young, and about the disastrous effect that had on me. And now, thinking about my own experiences, I recognized something really important. People often tend to switch off listening when the message is negative. They simply stop, or block hearing what is being said.
Yes, I had done that often enough. Perhaps it was a defense mechanism against all the negative energy directed at me. Or maybe it was just that I felt the words were cruel and hurtful, not helpful in any way. Or I simply didn’t want to accept what I was hearing was true.
I behave differently now. I have done a lot of “inner work”. I have got to know myself better. I understand that other people’s words often reflect how they feel, but are not necessarily true of, or for, me.
This means I have become more loving and less judgmental. I don’t want to judge myself or others. I don’t want to react to what someone else is saying and doing.
I am more connected to my soul-self. I choose to come from my heart, even if others are not doing the same. I want to respond with love, to live from who I am.
It is not up to me, to focus on anyone else’s failings or flaws. In fact, I do not even want to label behaviors in that negative way. I want to simply accept what is, and come from Love.
This is an Anne Frank quote I love, “Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!"
I believe she is right. And when I think about it, I can easily admit I have been surprised over the years, by my capacity to love. I have been amazed at how much forgiveness I have been able to offer. I have been delighted at just how much I have been able to create, to accomplish.
Choosing To Show How Much You Can Love
My meditation session ends and I realize my feelings have come full circle. I have moved from frustration to peace. I don’t feel bothered or disappointed about anything.
I appreciate how criticizing and complaining about someone’s behavior is not the way to go. There is a different choice I can make—both in how I perceive what is going on and what I say—and it is a decision that reflects just how much I can love.
It makes such a difference when I see more clearly. When I look with my heart and consider the other things which make the relationship work. The loving words and actions which get overlooked when my ego wants to be involved. They are there though, behind the seemingly thoughtless and annoying stuff!
So, if I choose to look a little deeper I see it all. And even though it may not be my way of saying I care, this is what I find—words and actions which show me how much I am loved.
This is what I choose to focus on. And, if I want to say something, I will offer words that encourage, support and inspire, rather than those which dishearten, oppose and demotivate.
After all, this is what feels good! Yes, thinking and talking about how much someone else gives feels much better than blaming them for what they don’t give. And discussing ideas for doing things differently is much more likely to bring about a desired result or change.
Expressing gratitude for all the good there is in a relationship, creates more good, because what we focus on we attract!
Loved ones are much more receptive to listening when the message comes from Love. Because loving, not judgmental words inspire change. And people cannot help but grow and become closer, when you choose to show how much you can love.
Virginia Allain from Central Florida on January 09, 2021:
A very good message to start my day. During this time of sequestering with my spouse, it's important to be accepting and be at peace with each other.