How To Find a Mutual Solution In Your Relationships With Our Process
PHIL: We mentioned last week that when we have strongly differing desires, we have a process of exploring what is behind them and suggesting alternatives, and in this way, we find a resolution that works for both of us. It works for decision making, too, when we are not clear on a direction.
It starts with each of us, in turn, saying what we want. It is important to make it personal, to say “I” rather than “You.” This adds intimacy and removes blame. And it is important for the listener to hear where the other person is at, rather than coming up with counter-arguments. By speaking our desires out loud, we also make them clearer to ourselves as well as to the other person, and the underlying reasons start to surface. “I want X because….”
For any problem outside a math paper (and even there, sometimes), there are multiple solutions. Our initial positions are two of them, and by listening to the other person, we can come up with more possibilities that take the other person’s desires into account.
In this way, we explore more deeply what our needs are, and more broadly what the possibilities are, and always find a solution that works for both of us. We have reached this without rancor and without giving anything up. It is an extraordinary feeling to have created it out of our interactions.
This process became formalized over a period of time as we came to recognize the elements of what we were doing, but we have recently noticed that the same give and take and exploration can be found in our daily lives.
It isn’t noticeable because it’s not like there is a point that has to be settled between us. Take choosing what to watch at night. If we each propose a different program, maybe other choices get suggested, but we end with something that is agreeable to both of us.
Strength of desire affects these choices, but it all works out because we each have a strong sense of fairness; there is no jostling to get the larger slice of cake. Fairness is a sense; it doesn’t need a list of chores pinned on the fridge.
We don’t have power and dominance issues; they are the direct opposite of fairness. A need for power stems from a sense of insecurity or incompleteness, and we are each sufficient unto ourselves. Being with each other only adds to what we have.When you know how good it feels to create mutuality, it becomes natural to make this choice #quote Click To Tweet
MAUDE: Many of you are familiar with our writings on what we call Our Process (see links at the bottom of this blog.) This process is intrinsic to our experience of a peaceful harmonious relationship. You can modify it to your needs and apply it to any relationship in which you wish to have balanced, fulfilling interactions.
Use this process when solving problems and making decisions, where the desire is for both parties to be getting what they want and need. This works well for solving as well as resolving things; both when you begin in disagreement, and when you just want to find a decision that feels good to each of you. It is not compromise in the sense that neither of you is giving something up. It is a co-creative process of listening, exploring and searching for the values and important aspects of what underlies each others’ wants, and then finding a path to mutual satisfaction.
Much of this rests in a sense of fairness and of being in touch with the feelings of goodness associated with fairness. This is not something you mentally assert, rather it is something you feel. There is a basic wanting the best for each other and an accompanying discomfort with imposing your will or even your view on another. When you prefer balance over dominance, when you want to find a path together rather than impose yours, you will gravitate toward a kinder, gentler togetherness.
We have been practicing this process for almost two decades – the first time we were aware of it was the planning and enactment of our wedding – and something quite unexpected has occurred. We have found that this way of being together pervades our everyday interactions with each other.
The tensions which occur when you have to be right, have ‘your way’, or when you think your way of perceiving things is the only way, dissipate. In their place comes a warm, friendly and relaxed sense of pleasure in the knowledge that you respect the other person and you are respected. You can breathe easier in the atmosphere of mutual caring and support.
When you know how good it feels to create mutuality, to listen and be heard, to communicate with fairness, to speak with gentleness, and to be conscious of each other’s needs and wants, it becomes natural to make this choice. This is the path to living peace within your relationships. It comes with experiential awareness and is built on intention, belief and action.
Link to a list of blogs about our process.
Photo credit: Phil Mayes
Photo note: “Butterflies Alive” at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Read what some other writers have to say on this topic.
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