In fairly new relationships, we think we truly know the person we’re dating. We know their favorite colors, favorite songs, their mannerisms , and so on. But for some reason when times get hard or we’re confused about something they’re doing, we go straight to a negative mindset; that what they’re doing is ill-intentioned. The funny thing is, it could be something so small but maybe that small thing could mean a lot to you. So, we basically do everything else except, try and figure out why that person maybe does some of those things. You know, trying to figure out who they were before they met you.
On the flip side, we try and get them to change that small thing that means so much to us but won’t even compromise on something that you may be doing to negativity impact them. You give them a response usually along the lines of “That’s just the way I am.”
Still with me? Let’s quickly recap: You want them to change without knowing a “why” behind their actions. But, when they tell you something you’re doing is negatively impacting them, you won’t even consider it because that’s just the way you are.
But relationships are compromise right? Give and take? A two-way street? So, in order for it to continue to work, one person cannot do all of it alone. I’m in no way, saying to let someone continue to do things to you, that you don’t necessarily like. I am, however, saying get to know that person more and try and understand why that person does those things; try and find a common grown. This way, you’re fostering a place of open communication and growth.
Let’s face it, no one is perfect and we have to remember that some things that we’re used to doing, may not be beneficial to where you are right now in your life. Know what to keep with you, that’s helping you grow and start learning what you should leave behind (hindering you).
So how do you foster this place of open communication & learning? (These are things I’m working on and/or have learned)
a. Remove the phrase, “that’s just the way I am” out of your mind and try and replace it with “this is what I am used to doing, but I am willing to work on it for the betterment of our relationship.”
b. I’ve found that leading in with a willingness to understand and not accuse, helps a lot too. For example, “You know you’re always ignoring me while you’re working” probably makes them feel as if you’ve already got your mind made up and it’s about to be an argument. Remember: it’s not always WHAT you’re saying, it’s HOW you’re saying it that people react to!
c. Don’t stop getting to know them, because everyone is constantly changing and evolving into their true selves. Also, don’t ever stop wanting to get to know who they were before you because they’re usually still that person just now, with you. That’s how you build a friendship, then a relationship can flourish.
d. Be willing to hear things that you’re doing to negatively effect them. Try and ask them what could you do to make it better and vice versa.
e. Last but not least, ask them “why” (and be open when they ask you the same) they do certain things or react certain ways. Maybe it’s something that they’ve been unconsciously doing and don’t even know what you’re referring to or they are just used to doing it that way. Either way, try and understand them and the both of you can come up with ways to help each other move forward.
Remember, people who you care for or care about you, will never intentionally try and hurt you. I know we’ve all been through some things, where the other person just had no regard for our feelings and this makes us start to generalize everyone, even the ones we are with. This person is NOT them and they, and also you, deserve a fair chance at growing through tough times with you.