ERP 019: Building Connection In Relationship With A “Do Over”
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Show Notes: Be sure to listen to the episode to hear stories, examples, and more tips.
What is a “Do over?”
A “do over” is having or taking the opportunity to try something a second time.
When we are learning something new, we rarely get it right the first time. Children playing together are a great example of what is possible with a “do over.” Children will commonly ask for a “do over” or freely ask to try again.
Many of us have the expectation that we should know how to address challenges in relationship effectively and skillfully without ever learning or gaining experience. Almost any skill requires negotiating a learning curve.
Reflective Listening Exercise
Many times I am inviting couples into a reflective listening exercise, which can feel like learning a foreign language. It takes practice and repetition before people start to feel comfortable with the skill. Many times, people feel intimidated or afraid of not getting it right. More than anything, I am giving clients permission to get it wrong. The exercise has a step that allows them to check it out with their partner to see if they got it right. Their partner will correct them if they got it wrong.
If you try this exercise, your partner will likely be grateful for your effort and willingness. They will probably be more gracious and generous than you might expect.
Fear & Worry
When we worry, we are often:
- anticipating a future event that seems difficult or overwhelming
- and don’t feel confident in how to meet the challenge.
One of the ineffective ways we deal with fear and worry is to avoid, but avoiding restricts our living and expression. Avoiding keeps us small, and keeps our relationship constricted.
A more effective approach to dealing with fear and worry in relationship involves being willing to try something new and to increase one’s skill and confidence.
Developing Skill Takes Practice.
© Ruth Hartnup | Flickr
Both negotiating difficult interactions in relationship and truth-telling take practice and the development of skill. Relationship dynamics can be incredibly tricky and complex. And yet, we feel we should know how to respond, without putting in the time to learn. We do not give ourselves the space and permission to practice in relationship. We are afraid of upsetting our partner, rocking the boat, or feeling inadequate. We can also feel worried about being dismissed or rejected.
If you have been listening to my previous podcasts, you probably have heard me say, challenges will arise in relationship. It is the way that we deal with the challenges that determines our relationship experience and success.
If we choose to ignore the difficulty and let it go rather than circle back and address the issue, the we are missing a great opportunity.
If you still have feelings about something, it still has life. The emotions are still relevant, even if they occurred in the past. Time is often not linear in the emotional realm. Have you ever received a delayed thank you card? It still feels good, even if it is late.
Circle Back For A “Do Over”.
“Do overs” give us the opportunity to practice and improve our interactions in relationship. “Do overs” help us cultivate more connection and meaning with our loved ones. Here are some tips to support your next “do over:”
1. Pay attention.
- When an interaction seems off or doesn’t feel good, take notice.
- Were you uncertain of what to say, came on too strong, didn’t speak up, didn’t say what you meant, complained, or criticized?
2. What is true?
- What is true underneath the complaint, silence, or misstep?
- “I want…”
3. What could I have said that would have been more genuine and authentic?
- What would have been a more clear, truthful, and tactful way of communicating?
- What are some options of things you could have said that would have been more true?
- See what statement resonates the most.
4. Ask for a “do over”.
- Work up the courage to ask for a “do over” and try something new.
- “I would like a “do over” please.”
5. Capture the moment (and essence) and do it over.
- Be as authentic and genuine as possible.
- When you open and connect with what is true and meaningful, your partner will feel your sincerity and genuineness.
- “If I could have the opportunity to do that I again, here is what I would have said…”
- “Before, I wasn’t sure what to say. Now, that I have some time to think about it, here is what I would liked to have said…”
6. Feel the difference.
- Does the “do over” seem different in any way?
- How do you feel communicating the best way that you can?
- How does your partner respond? Recognize the impact you have to deeply affect others.
- Honoring and valuing the shared space you are creating with your partner.
Hopefully, you will find that the “do over” approach can be a powerful option to repair and correct missteps in relationship. Even more, I hope you feel the transformational connection with you partner, and that you both feel more known and deeply loved by each other.
Thank you for listening. If you have more ideas or thoughts, I would love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment below.
If you have a topic that you would like me to discuss or a situation that you would like me to speak to, please contact me by clicking on the “Ask Dr. Jessica Higgins” button here. Thank you so much for being interested in improving the quality of your relationship.
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