The Final Four Principles

Finally, the last of the Principles.

If one has bad feelings about the other during or after a disagreement they are not allowed to blame the other for these bad feelings.

This is really about taking personal responsibility for our actions and feelings.  We may not control our emotions (how they arise, when they arise)  and we have 100% control over our actions.  No one “makes” us angry or sad or unhappy.  Situations cause certain emotions to arise and as responsible adults it’s up to us to deal with them as adults.  That means no playing the blame game.  It also means no “you made me” or “you did . . .”  or “you . . .” conversations.  Start conversations with “I feel”  and go from there.  “I feel sad that we are fighting.”   “I feel angry that we can’t find a solution to X”.  You get the picture.

Past disagreements are not valid issues during a current disagreement – no “generalizing” and no “bringing up the past” is allowed.

It is so easy to bring up the past.  We live in the past so much of our times that it’s the first thing that comes up.  So many times our disagreements with each other remind us of similar issues and concerns from weeks or even years ago.  Especially if we haven’t yet fully dealt with those issues.  It’s really easy to fall into the “You always do X” or “This is like when you did X” which derails the current conversation and muddies the issue.  Keep the past in the past and stay present when working on issues.

Short breaks from arguments are allowed but when possible disputes should be resolved on the same day they begin.

Sometimes we need breathing room.  This is pretty self-explanatory.  It’s kind of the old “don’t go to bed angry” meme.  That said, if you need to take a break, do so.  When you feel  your temper getting the best of you.  When you find yourself on the verge of breaking  your agreements and not following the principles, a simple “I need a break, please” is all that you need to do.  And, no matter how much you want to get your point across at the exact minute, if your partner asks for a break, be okay with it. Let them take a break.  I guarantee the issue will still be there later and with a break from each other, solutions might arise during the time apart.

If a departure is necessary during a disagreement it must be cordial and considerate.

Yes, this is also important.  Remember my last post when I talked about marching out of the restaurant.  I was neither cordial or considerate that day.  Leaving quietly and politely is paramount.  No running out of the room crying.  No marching out slamming doors.  No matter how much you think you would make you feel better, it’s a form a control and in some ways borderline abusive to create a scene either in a disagreement or as your are exiting one.  Keeping your cool is vital during disagreements.

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So that’s it.  These aren’t all the agreements you may want to create between you and your partner or partners. Start with the principles and go from there.  See what is important to you and your partner(s) and create agreements you all can live with and live up to.   And you may not feel that all the principles I’ve outlined are necessary.  That’s totally acceptable. Create your own principles.  Mine are just a starting place.

What I really want to emphasize is that you need to have the conversations in the first place.  No matter how long you’ve been together and no matter how well you think you can read each other –YOU ARE NOT A MIND READER AND NEITHER ARE THEY (unless one of you are a Betazoid ).  You need to keep that in mind at all times when dealing with issues in your relationships.  Be up front and open.  Do not be afraid to let them know how you’re feeling.  This is one of the key components to healthy relationship.

I’ll be back later this week to talk more about navigating relationships.  Have a great day!

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