How to Find Peace and Harmony in Your Relationship Through Mutual Solutions
Are you looking for more harmonious, peaceful ways to make decisions and come to mutually satisfying solutions in your relationships? Do you experience frustration, discord, or arguing when you are trying to make plans or express yourself with your intimate partners, friends or relatives?
This is something that happens in all relationships if you do not have an agreed-upon way to traverse these paths. To truly find a way to communicate and solve problems or make decisions without creating distance, it is necessary to have a fundamental understanding between you.
Compromise is often touted as an important part of a good relationship, where one or both people give up something they want in order to restore a feeling of harmony or to keep the peace between them. It might involve small things like clothes on the floor or large things like parent care. Perhaps each person gives something up, or they take it in turn to be the “winner.”
We say that compromise is never necessary. You can find a solution or make a decision without either person giving anything up, and this applies in many, many relationships, not just couples.
So how do you do this?
The answer can sound very simple. Learning how to put it into practice is however, not always that simple, and it requires a deep level of trust that both parties in the relationship want to achieve the best for each other. Trust that there is such a mutually satisfying solution.
This requires an agreement from both of you that you are willing to let go of your specific image or idea of how the solution, decision, plan should look. You are not being asked to give up what you actually want or need, but just to set aside your predetermined idea about how to get that, what that would look like. Change your expectations about how such negotiations proceed. Let go of the idea that the discussion becomes rancorous. You have to come from a solution-seeking attitude. Now this is a challenge because–by definition–you cannot see a solution that will work for the two of you; instead you have to trust that a solution will emerge. This is hard at first!
Compromise is never necessary. You can find a solution without either person giving anything up Click To TweetThe path is to find out what is important to you. What is the value that you are looking for? Instead of holding out for a specific outcome, look at why you want it and what it fulfills for you, then see what else is possible that would satisfy your wants. Listen carefully not only to what the other is saying, but to what you are saying as you describe for each other what you really want out of the issue under discussion. The more you hear of each other and yourself, the more you learn and the more possibilities open up on how to find a path that causes pleasure and fulfills the wants for both of you.
Sharing in this way does several things. It makes it clear to you what your motives are. Maybe they are superficial and blow away in the wind, or maybe you see more clearly what is important to you. As you both do this and talk about it, you hear the other person’s desires and can incorporate those into what works for you. This process generates intimacy and closeness because each person is sharing of their true self. It can be scary and challenging to dig deep.
What emerges will not be the original image either of you had when you came into the exchange. It will be something new you have created together that works for both of you. Trust each other and your intention to find this answer.
Clearly, this method is not possible in all relationships. Some people will not let go of their firmly held idea of how their want can be fulfilled and want only precisely what they envision. How do you work with someone who does not have the flexibility we’ve described? The best you can do with this kind of relationship is to listen and try to hear what it is they really want underlying the ask. Then look inside and see if you can find parts of your want that can encompass that fixed concept. Say to the other person “Hey, we got a problem here. Do you want to find a solution to it?” Once they say yes, you have a toehold. You can still offer to listen and hear what they express. Sometimes when someone feels heard and acknowledged, they will find it possible to be more flexible.
This way of making decisions and resolving differences that we describe is completely foreign to many people. It may be so strange that it feels uncomfortable at first. Get there by agreeing that you want to find a solution; that one will emerge; and so there is no need for conflict. It is a puzzle that you are solving together. Until you have done this a few times, those are hard positions to take, and need a lot of trust to jump into the unknown. We promise that it will work every time.
Photo credit: Phil Mayes
Photo note: Iris and Richard, 2011
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