I mentioned to an old girl friend recently that Cathy and I have not had an argument in the ten years we’ve been together. And, we live and work together 24/7. She expressed surprise and a bit of skepticism. That had not been her experience in our past relationship.
This doesn’t mean that Cathy and I don’t disagree. However, we have a shared vision of not bringing self-induced drama into our life. We are jointly and individually committed to being responsible in supporting that no drama vision.
Of course, during our daily life, we may disagree about something – small or large. (I still can’t convince her that the bottom shelf of the refrigerator is reserved for Sam Adams. And, do we really need rugs covering every square inch of our hardwood floors?)
We recognize and follow the golden rule of drama-free couple communication – kindness always trumps being right. We know that we can’t hear or evaluate opposing views in an effective manner if one or both of us is approaching the situation from a place of self-importance, resentment or criticism.
When I approach any potential disagreement from a view of kindness, I am able to recognize that my position on a topic may be less effective than hers. (Same is true for her, albeit probably less often.)
And, then we decided to move into a new home! The disruption of moving home and home offices is apparently not listed in the top ten life stressors according to the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory – but it has to be number 11 or 12.
The good news – Cathy and I have still not had an actual argument. However, there has been grumpiness, stomping foot tantrums (no, not just me), and loud expressions of frustration in the field. So, each of us has had to be extra careful and attentive in our communications because self-induced drama did enter our life for several weeks.
We’ve used every tool and ritual in our Clarity arsenal. We have reframed and refocused our negative, ineffective thoughts, sometimes moment to moment throughout our days. We have reminded ourselves that this move is part of our larger life vision, and the disruption is really temporary.
More importantly, each of us has also remained aware of our capacity to observe our own thoughts in the moment. This high noticing awareness of our thoughts’ impact on our physical and mental energy helps us remain present and aware. This awareness allows us to objectively observe our thoughts so we can more quickly place our attention on shifting to more effective thinking.
Drama’s place is in movies, television shows or the stage. If you find yourself bringing drama into your own life, pretend you are sitting in the front row watching your ineffective, dramatic producing thoughts/behaviors in action. Developing this observational ability will help you find a more calming, effective approach.
Moved in and calmer,