How to Solve Differences From a Place of Mutuality

This morning we were at our local breakfast nook working on blog topics. We each shared ideas about a possible topic, and some tensions arose unexpectedly. Maude wanted to continue last week’s theme of peace, and Phil wanted a different topic for variety. We repeated our desires about three times and ended up deciding that it would be an appropriate end-of-year subject, but the repetition left both of us with a slight feeling of not being heard during the discussion.

Wow! What an opportunity. “For what?” you ask. Well, there we were, working on sharing about our relationship and how we use our process to solve issues and make decisions, and yet we were both feeling like we hadn’t been heard by each other. “So why is that an opportunity?” you are probably still asking.

In relationships, don’t be concerned with being right. Focus on understanding each other #quote Click To TweetIt is that we took our discomfort, even slight, as a cue to examine our interaction and act differently in the future. We immediately shared with each other that neither of us were feeling heard and relayed to each other whatever disharmonious feelings we were having as a result. When we approached this part of the conversation, there were no recriminations. It was just straight forward sharing from two partners who are always assured that we seek mutuality and always want to understand from a place of love and interest the other’s ideas and feelings.

We are never – that’s right – never concerned with being right. We are concerned with understanding what each of us has to offer to a particular issue, in this case a blog topic. We want to be enriched by what the other has to add, and don’t feel challenged by something different from what we think or say. Phil does the same with the software he writes: every bug, every failure, is an opportunity to look at how it occurred and how it can be avoided in the future.

We took this experience and made it an opportunity to improve our communication with each other. We looked at why we each felt out of step with the other, and what we could do to avoid this in the future. There was no sense of arguing or distance; if anything, there was a renewed sense of our mutuality. This is Our Process in action.

To do this with your own conflicts, you have to believe they’re not inevitable; that they arise not from an underlying incompatibility but from a flawed process for finding a mutual solution.

If you stay present and awake as you interact with each other, then wonderful things become possible. You can ever more readily find that place of peace and togetherness to react from, and the positive experience of solving issues and making decisions without having to be right or have the last say or win over your partner will fortify your relationship.

Trust that it is there and that you can flow towards it, just as a stream flows toward the ocean even though it cannot see its destination. It will fill you with calm and trust, the kind that is based on actual experience.

Treat misalignment as opportunities to improve communication. Learn to act from trust and the desire to find and express your agreement. Learn to add your partner’s insights to your own for a shared response to the issues at hand.

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