Relationship Tip #3: Be In Love

admin - Wednesday, June 26, 2013

thinking love

The other day, I was arguing with my teenage daughter.  Doing my utmost to be reasonable, respectful and rational while setting some boundaries (you can stop laughing), using all my nifty NLP skills; pacing and leading, very clever language patterns, we were still at logger heads.

“You don’t care about me”, she accused.

“How can she think that? Doesn’t she realise how much I love her”, I heard myself think.  Remembering how much I do love her, I said, “Stop. Stop. Stop.  Let’s just stop.  I need you to look at me”.  After some coercing, she did.  While saying over and over in my mind, “I REALLY LOVE YOU.  Please let’s try”, she looked.

“You want me to do what you say so it’s easy for you”, she said.

“Oh no”, I said, “Look again”.

“I can’t read eyes like you”, she said, even though her tone was already softening.

“Well, if you can’t see it, you better come here and hug me so you can feel it”.  And she did, and things turned around from there.

We all know NO relationship is ‘smooth sailing’ ALL of the time.  I’m not just talking about romantic relationships, but all relationships: work, community, family and friends.  You know the saying, “You can please some of the people some of the time…”, but YOU can never please anyone All of the time.  And, you can be certain THEY will hurt or disappoint you from time to time.  It is guaranteed (but, not by me).  That’s just the way it is to be human.  So, it’s important to have some strategies up your metaphoric shelve when you have a real issue to discuss.  Mine is to ‘be in love’.

I’ve learn that it’s not WHAT you say, or how ‘right’ you are, it’s how you FEEL that has the impact.  That’s because our mirror neurons make our brain replicate the experience the other person is having inside their brain.  This means that if I remain frustrated, I’m forcing the other person to run the ‘frustrated’ experience in their brain too.  If I change to being loving, they will have to have that experience too, even if they choose to over-write it immediately after. (You can read more about ‘Mirror Neurons’ here).

When I’m in conflict with someone, I find it hugely helpful to remember there is something about them that I do like.  This is how I ‘be in love’.

A while back, I found myself surprise how well this works.  On one occasion my husband was unhappy with me about something.  While he was still talking I called his name, like it was an emergency, “Look! Look at me”.  I was saying over and over in my mind, “I REALLY LOVE YOU”.  He kept talking, but he looked.  I said, “No, really look. What do you see”?

“You really love me”, he said.

“Yes, I do.  Sorry I interrupted you”.  And you know what?  He couldn’t remember what he was unhappy about.

Seeing how effective this was, I decided, whenever I have a real issue to discuss, I’m going to first remember that we love each other, then I’ll talk about what’s upsetting me.  I’m glad I remembered this with my daughter this week.

What are some of the ways you can ‘be in love’ to improve your relationships?