(How did it go last week? Did you refrain from any unhelpful behavior, even once? Did you stop some of your negative thoughts mid-train? What did you discover?) Question for you, moving forward....
First, let's assume that you do indeed have some changes to make when it comes to creating a better relationship with the mom or stepmom, and between both families. Ask yourself---
Do you have anyone in your life who gives it to you straight?
Someone who's willing to tell it like it is, even if you may not like it?
Someone who is brave and honest enough to point out the error of your ways, even if it might be awkward, uncomfortable, or make you feel defensive?
Someone who tells you these things from a place of wanting to serve your highest self, instead of your sometimes blind social self?
Who is it? And when was the last time you talked to them?
Friends like that might scare you on some level, but admit it: you also crave and respect their honesty!
Do you serve this same function for your closest friends?
Friends like this circumvent the little story we're trying to tell ourselves about problems in our life, which sometimes involves
- justifications for our behavior,
- the convenient denial or omission of a few telling details,
- the focus on the other person's mistakes and shortcomings.
Friends like this just stick a few plain facts in your face and say, hey... but--- what about this?
And often make us feel like the Emperor with no clothes, at least... temporarily.
If there's conflict between you and the other woman, or between the two families, a friend like this can be an incredible source of insight and new ideas to be acted upon.
Lacking anyone like this in your life, do you have guaranteed tools you can fall back on to help you drill down to the truth about any behavior of yours that's actually perpetuating conflict?
- cognitive therapy (slowing down your mental dialogue and then analyzing whether it's accurate or not, which it often isn't!)
- goal status checks (which assumes that you're clear on your goals in the first place - a lot of us aren't)
If you've figured out a predictable way to sort through your emotional turmoil on a predictable basis, bravo. You're reducing your stress and making your life clearer and easier. If you haven't, dabble in one or two methods and see what happens.
There's an incredibly simple litmus test you can take to see whether your friend's questions, or your conflict resolution tools, are serving you....
- Do I feel lighter after talking with them, or sitting down and looking at this situation?
- Do I have a new sense of possibility here?
- Do I now see some angles and perspectives that I was blind to before?
Sometimes we run from uncomfortable truths about our automatic behavior like someone trying to outrun an attack dog.
What would happen if you didn't?!
© 2008 Jennifer Newcomb Marine All Rights Reserved