It’s not enough to say that we have to work at our relationships if they are going to work. We also need to know what to work on, how, and in what way. That “work” or “effort” should also be enjoyable and rewarding or we are going to tire and resent the “work”.
If the “work” is a struggle and doesn’t bring us anything in return we feel like we are banging our head on the wall and not getting anywhere.
I learned in engineering school that Work equals moving a force through a distance. That means if you push and push and push on a wall, but the wall doesn’t move you didn’t do any “work”. You spent a lot of effort, but nothing moved, nothing changed, and therefore no “work” was accomplished.
I’ve had conversations with partners that were like that. I’ve felt the struggle and tension, tried to speak, and listen, and felt like we got nowhere.
Then there are those conversations that really moved the needle into feeling good with each other.
I got listened to and understood in a way that I felt important and valued. What I didn’t know was that this wasn’t an accident. The person listening to me was doing some very conscious and skillful things in their listening to help me have that experience.
We talked about an uncomfortable topic, both got to say what we felt and ask for what we wanted. We both were heard by one another and all that icky uncomfortable emotions disappeared. I felt myself smiling inside and at my partner. It wasn’t just relief to be out of the “stuck” feeling, but a joy about where we were.
What was the difference?
What is the ingredient that we both brought to the conversation that moved us out of being stuck, through those uncomfortable emotions, and into feeling joyful?
Have a listen to the podcast for Eva Beronius and my take on what makes the difference in a healthy connecting conversation.