Stormy Weather – Part 4 of 5

 In Blog, Effective Dialogue, Satisfying Relationships

(Time to read: ~ 4 minutes)

We’ve been exploring my idea that how we handle the storms that arise – in ourselves and in others – determines the quality of our relationships. And what I’ve learned about effectively harnessing the power of those storms so that they generate power and benefits for everyone.

4 – Ensure you come up with concrete strategies…

… a way to keep them in your awareness, and set up a check-in appointment to discuss how they are working for each of you.

Creating mutual and compassionate shared understanding about what is important to each of us around a problem area is very important. It definitely contributes to an increased sense of connection between us at the time of the conversation.

And I’ve found that the long-term effectiveness of these conversations is dramatically improved when we use that increased sense of connection to come up with one concrete thing each that we will try to do differently. To see if it reduces or eliminates our dissatisfaction with that area of the relationship.

Why concrete strategies are important

Our emotions and the needs that are “up” for us change rapidly from moment to moment, as new events occur. So that “good feeling” we have at the end of a successful challenge-addressing conversation is not a permanent thing.

What we can hold onto are the strategies we decided on – because they live in the land of the concrete and observable.

In a sense they are the tangible, distilled essence of the shared understanding we reached through the conversation.

Keeping strategies in mind

So it is possible for us to “hold onto” the strategies we agreed to. But in our very busy world, it is not always easy to remember them – so many things compete for our limited attention.

Therefore, in order to maintain positive momentum, I’ve found that it is essential to develop tangible reminders of the agreements for new behaviour, and possibly checklists of when they have been fulfilled.

For example, John and I recently went through our own patch of stormy weather. Out of our dialogue, we each came up with some things we would do. (If you are interested in our specific agreements, see the very bottom of this post.)

I typed our agreements up, checked that John agreed with what I had written, and put a copy in the drawer on my side of the kitchen table where we have supper (our agreements included doing a check-in each day at suppertime). Then each evening, I’ve been pulling it out and we’ve each been asking ourselves the questions we decided on.

The one thing I haven’t done that I would like to do, is to keep track on the back of the sheet, the days that we actually do this – so we can notice if / when we start to drift away from this practice.

Why it is essential to check-in

When we come up with our strategies, we are only guessing that they will be 1) doable for us, and 2) that they will have a positive impact on our relationship – not adding any unanticipated negative side effects.

And, because we are two individuals, our answers to those two questions may be different. So it is important to check in and find out how it’s going.

What I love about doing this is that it tends to avoid unexpected blow-ups – because we deal with any problems when they are still small.

What’s Your Next Step?

What would be the smallest, simplest thing you could do to incorporate the one aspect of this post that most appeals to you?

Are you willing to do that between now and the next time you receive an email from me?

If not, what would you look forward to doing?
I invite you to consider doing that.

*  *  *  *  *

Click here to see the next post: How to have a connecting check-in

*  *  *  *  *

Are you looking for a safe, confidential place to vent?
Or help in finding “single-handed” strategies?
Or do you sense you’ve “gone numb” – lost connection to what’s not working for you?

Perhaps I can help. I offer three booking options (click on the words in blue to book):

  1. A free, no-obligation time to connect and see if what I offer is a match for what you are seeking.
  2. A brief “Ask Glenda” session (15-60 minutes) to get support with some specific aspect of a situation.
  3. A coaching session (1-2 hours) to find a place of peaceful, self-connected power around a difficult situation, and/or to practice having a challenging conversation in a connecting way.

In all cases, you’ll see an up-to-the-minute picture of my calendar and you can book yourself in at a time that works for you. No phone tag or email chains! You’ll get an automatic email confirmation with a link to use if you need to cancel or reschedule.

*  *  *  *  *

John and I – Latest Agreements to support positive connection:

Morning Walk – We will start by each sharing (at least) one thing that we are appreciating. To help us connect with the beauty around us, we will spend at least half the walk in silence.

Coming Together for Supper – We will start by each sharing (at least) one thing that we are appreciating.

Daily Check-in – Each day at supper, we will ask ourselves the following questions:

John to John: Were there moments today when I made the solitude choice instead of the connecting choice? (Both in terms of what I would like to be different & what I appreciate)

Glenda to Glenda: Have I focused on sharing what I appreciate first? When I would like empathy, have I been conscious about asking if John is willing to offer that?

Each of us to ourselves: Is it my impression that I honoured our agreements around our morning walk and coming together for supper? Does that match my partner’s impression?

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