Continued from yesterday’s blog: Doing the Circular Dance
STOPPING THE DANCE AND CHANGING THE STEPS
If we find ourselves in a partnership where we are doing the circular dance, it does not mean we cannot stop the dance and create new steps for healing. In fact, my present eight and a half-year relationship has been my proving ground where I have learned that it is possible to change my steps.
I am blessed because I often see what’s going on underneath the covers and hear what is not being said. So, it did not take long for me to notice I was doing the same dance in this relationship and immediately I was ready to make a change.
Fortunately, I am in a relationship with a man who listens to me when I speak, who hears what I say, who is open to change and healing, and who knows as I do that we are life partners. As a result, we spend a lot of time talking about whatever is going on, we discuss our problems honestly and openly and look for solutions, and we make concessions for each other.
The following recommendations are what Paul and I have used to stop the circular dance.
1. Stop dancing. . You have to be willing to stop the dance right in the middle, if necessary. Just stop. You cannot work on repairing the damage that has been done if you insist on repeating the old steps.
2. Talk honestly about what is not working. This has to be done without judgment because as soon as you start judging each other, you are back in the dance. Make rules before you start the conversation. Good rules to follow are:
A. Each partner will own their own stuff and quit making the other person responsible for what is not working. The truth is, if life is not working for you it’s because of you, it’s not about anyone else. Others may activate our unhealed issues, but they are not responsible for them. Only you can change your life and make it work.
B. Each partner will speak in the first person. Example: I feel….. I think….I need….I am…. (this is how we own our own stuff)
C. Each partner will listen with their heart to the other and give full attention to what is being said. When we begin to verbally spar with another we run a monologue in duet in our head. What this means is instead of wholeheartedly listening to what the other person is saying, we are in our head thinking of what our response will be. We cannot do this and listen at the same time. Undivided attention says, “You matter and I want to know how you feel.”
D. Do not use the words ALWAYS or NEVER in an argument, instead, stick to the present issue.
Following these simple rules will change the content of the argument.
3. Together, agree to open a space within yourself and the relationship for change and growth. Get outside help, if necessary, from a trusted counselor. Or, agree to engage in classes or in a workshop that teaches conscious couple-ship. Often, we need outside help.
4. Learn how to communicate without making your partner wrong. It is easier to do this when we are willing to accept and acknowledge that each person is doing the best they can. We can’t give what we don’t have and we can’t be who we don’t yet know we are.
5. Be willing to acknowledge your own issues, feel what you need to feel, and do your own personal healing work. No more sweeping stuff under the rug, no more pretending, no more sulking, blaming, or judging.
As you work through the healing and rebuilding stages you may more than likely start the circular dance again. It is familiar and you know how to do it. If you do find yourself back where you started, it’s okay. Don’t make yourself or your partner wrong, just acknowledge where you are, and what you are doing, forgive yourself and each other, and re-commit to getting back on track with healing yourself and your relationship.
Needless, to say changing our dance steps requires both partners being in agreement. If one is in denial about what is happening in the relationship, or is hesitant about moving forward in healing, then I’m not sure the partnership can be salvaged.
Life is too short to live unhappily, especially when happiness and peace are so readily available. Choose for your highest and best and don’t settle for anything that is not life-affirming. When we are willing to practice service, compassion, forgiveness, and kindness we can replace the ugliness that has crept into our relationships with love, peace, and acceptance.
Do you have any questions or comments? Please use the contact form and I will get back to you.