Getting Our Needs Met
Relationships are about need vs. need. Healthy relationships give and receive for the good of the whole. When your need is being frustrated by his need (and vice-versa) the key to maintain harmony is in learning to be responsive rather than reactive.
You may ask, "But HOW?"
I love when people ask the question. If we try to give an answer before the question is being asked, no matter how wise our words, it falls on weak ears. Let's start with the solution before we address the problem.
Solution: Start your day by choosing to invest time to set yourself up to have a great rest of the day. Making time to 'pray it forward' is enough to guarantee that you will be in charge of your thoughts throughout the day. And, after all it is our thoughts that produce our emotions. A few minutes of sincere meditation/prayer gives you a different nervous system for the entire day.
Problem: The content of our thinking produces our receptivity. The cells of our body have two modes, and one and only one mode operates at a time. Our cells are either open for growth or closed for defense. By going into defense mode one compromises the optimal function of his/her nervous, endocrine and autoimmune systems. Not only does defensiveness harm relationships, it harms you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Our thoughts produce our emotions. So listen to what you are thinking because that is what is stirring up your emotions. When you set the condition of me against you, you ironically set the conditions for you to be against yourself. It’s called “destroying your own house”.
It is more about you than it is about them. There may be some truth to thinking that the situation will get better when the other person changes but it is not an absolute truth. How so? A person may genuinely be making strides (clumsy and inept) to cooperate but as long as we look at their actions through our angry glasses, we will fail to appreciate their effort and misjudge their intent and disregard their point. Even if our basic need is being met we neglect to notice.
The progress s/he makes is in keeping with his innate gifting which is often different than the way we would do things. Irony: opposites attract. We are drawn to someone whose strength compliments our weakness. We are repelled by that same someone when she does not measure up to our expectations.
But what if he never changes? Then we have to decide if it is a deal breaker or not. If it is a not a deal breaker then look inside for your own answers. Sometimes for the good of the whole we have to lower our expectations. That is not to throw a wet blanket on hope; it is to dampen unrealistic expectations. Assertive is making a request without demanding it.
Honesty with self promotes personal growth. Every day you have a chance to set into motion positive changes in your relationships. It’s like the disgruntled office worker said when she began to appreciate her job and her co-workers, “These people around here sure have changed!”
Maybe the Golden Rule really does work. Respond to others in a respectful manner and give room to grow into reciprocating in kind out of their own human dignity. Negotiate – give and receive - for the good of the whole.
Again, you may ask, “But HOW?”
Answer: Graciously. In the Bible verse, "God's grace is sufficient" the verb "is" is a past/present/future reality. As in…
Past: God's grace was sufficient yesterday I just chose to say, "No thanks, I'll handle this myself, thank you anyway!"
Present: God's grace is sufficient today (right this second) and is a reality awaiting my acceptance and employment.
Future: God's grace will be present tomorrow or next week or whenever it is needed.
There is always a current supply of grace to us and through us; grace can be refused or used but it cannot be horded or stored up. Like the manna in the wilderness saved grace becomes stale. Grace is delivered fresh, toasty warm and sweet smelling from God's outpost within you. Receive it. Share it. Bask in the needs-fulfilling nourishment it gives in all relationships.