I’d never heard this expression before. Until yesterday. Isn’t it a doozy?
What does it mean?
You know those arguments you have, and you really only have them with your nearest and dearest so usually your ‘significant other’, when you have both taken opposing positions on a situation? You are both so convinced you were right, that you have become utterly entrenched.
“No…” you say. “You didn’t say it like that. You’ve just rephrased it in such a way that it paints me in a wholly ungenerous light!”
“Actually,” your ‘other’ replies, “That is exactly how I said it. You’re just too sensitive!”
Whew! In Communication Miracles For Couples: Easy and Effective Tools to Create More Love and Less Conflict, which I have mentioned before – a deceptively insignificant and apparently ‘lite’ book which is actually far from it – this is the point at which your ears drop off. Yup. You heard me. Your ears. They drop off. You have been accused of being over-sensitive, so your defences have shot up, your brain has slammed on the brakes, and your ears wish to hear not a word more. Your partner has been accused of being ungenerous so his/her barriers have sky-rocketed, and not another word is going to help. But do you stop? Do you hell! You become über-defensive and try any means you can to convince the other of their wrongness, your rightness, your woundedness, their mistaken hurtfulness. You hurl yourselves at the point from every angle you can conceive; angry, pleading, frustrated, desperate, cold. Nothing works. For either of you.
This is ‘redecorating hell’. Raking over the same coals again and again, in the hope of making the other ‘see’ the error of their ways, that they have wronged you. This, my sister once told me, is one of the definitions of madness: repeating the same pattern again and again in the hope of achieving a different result.
Yet how often is it actually that serious? How often is it more important that you are right, than that a peaceful, loving relationship is restored? I can already hear the cries of “downtrodden!” or “doormat!” but I am not suggesting for a moment that you sacrifice your principles or moral code. How much easier would it be for everybody, though, if one of you could just reach out, let it go, let love win? If it is not a fundamental life/death situation, what’s the point?
And what message does it give your children, to witness a conflict threatening on the horizon, and to see one or other (or even better, both) of you release it, remember, and believe that love is more important than ego, or anger, or… anything really.
It was reading Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson’s You Can Create an Exceptional Life: Candid Conversations with Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson that I first heard this expression, but it was reinforced listening to Wayne Dyer this morning: in whatever situation you find yourself, it is the work of moments to stop, release it, let love in and let love out.
“The solution for a life of unrest,” he informs, “is to choose stillness.”
It is deceptively simple, isn’t it? And yet, with an ironic smile playing on my lips, the following situation unfolded: I was alone in the kitchen. I stood at the sink washing up, trying to listen to his words as chaos burst in and unfurled around me in the form of at least three small, restless boys competing to be heard. The frustration of wanting to hear the message welled in my breast. I felt the familiar thwarted anguish rise, and then I realised…
…I’d already heard the message.
I stopped the recording, stilled my inner turbulence and turned, calmly, to deal with the many small demands; some important, others really not 😉 I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that it really was that simple, to the extent that I am now attempting not to kick myself for being unable to manage it before now…
The next challenge is to achieve it mid-argument!