When steam builds up, the tea kettle whistles.
Nature’s way and Ours
We’ve all said words we regret. They came out of a time, a moment, when we were not feeling loved, cherished, and adored.
It’s often little things that build up. Whatever set our emotions off was probably something minor, normally no big deal–except that day it was.
Low Emotional Reserves
It caught us with low reserves of feeling loved, cherished, and adored; of feeling secure, safe, respected, strong; of feeling appreciated, heard, or valued–all those basic emotional needs. These are Not would be nice; they are human emotional NEEDS.
I started this Valentine’s Week with Love Languages… our communicating and feeling-loved exchange with each other–and how to build ongoing reserves in each other’s emotional Love Accounts. Love Languages help us understand our own emotional needs–and what fills them for us, also. We can get creative and playful about this. Loving ourselves was in the mix this week too.
It is not someone else’s job to make us happy; that’s our job. And one person can not ever be our everything. (Relationship Rules to play with)
After the steam blows.
Our tendency is to point a finger and blame the other person…
Except that visually and metaphorically, when we point a finger at someone, anyone, there are three pointing back at us.
In other words, at its root cause is something in our emotional selves that’s hurting–perhaps from another time or relationship–and this day, in that moment, we reacted from the OLD hurt… or just being too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (HALT), when no one is at their best. An innocent turn of phrase, touch, action triggered it. It happens.
That revelation comes to us only in hindsight, by the way.
The steam kettle boiled, and you know you’ve just majorly overreacted in a situation, maybe saw a dark side of you come through that’s totally out of character. Tears, angry words; maybe hurtful, unfair ones.
Take the kettle off the stove and let the water cool for a bit–when making tea and in the moment. Breathe, or let the tears flow. They might be torrential ones when emotions are clearing, releasing. Grab a box of tissues; let it out. Tears, waterworks, releasing held-in emotions.
Communicate that you know you overreacted and you’re not sure, yet, where it came from? And that you need some time and space for now. Then give each other some space and alone time–a long walk, a work out; something physical to continue the release of adrenaline and emotions.
Ask for Insight
In your alone time, ask for insight and go within to figure out who and what you reacted so strongly to. It may surprise you.
Some find writing helps process emotions, allowing whatever is inside to flow onto a page. Let it out, all of it; no judgment or filters or writing class censors. Pages of scrap paper work well for me. Scrap paper, serving a purpose; to recycle, toss, or tear up later.
When you’re done, read what you wrote…or not. Was there an aha insight in there? Maybe it will take more time. Allow yourself what you need and eventually, insight will drop in; you’ll know what past hurt triggered such strong emotion. Be gentle with yourself.
And then have another conversation, and share the story.
Saying You’re Sorry
This may come earlier or now. Either way, healthy happy relationships include saying we’re sorry…for things we’re actually sorry for. (That famous Love Story movie quote had to be written by someone very inexperienced in relationships… just saying.)
If a refresher is helpful, here’s a cute little ‘How to Apologize’ video. She suggests writing a script for yourself. To make it easier.
There will be new understandings coming out of this, with another layer of depth in your relationship. And future emotional triggers will be easier to recognize. You may even have a secret phrase you’ll use to diffuse next time much quicker. As in, “Who are we paying for this time?” (Smile here. You now know that somebody, and a situation in your past, is the real culprit.)
An interesting thing happens when we name something and bring it into the light; it’s not so scary or powerful anymore.
Helpful Relationships-and-Words Repair Resources
The essential message of unconditional love is one of liberation: a commitment promise to yourself and one another. Open and Save your copy (PDF)
Crucial Conversations process for left-brain technical biz types
Gold and the Sun
Great Love Relationships are the gold and sunlight of our lives; priceless treasures. So is our ability to love. Be mindful of this. We are everyday players on a center stage — and peripheral stages — of each other’s lives, in both grand and ordinary adventures. We are the storytellers and the actors.
Enjoy, play, dance, grieve when you must, create scripts, treat yourself and one another as best you can.
Happy Valentine’s week. Hope you’ve enjoyed these Relationships Center-Stage posts. I’ve enjoyed creating them. Love always – Anne
PS Any requests for another topic series like this? ASK. ♥♥♥