Are you adding peace and respect for yourself every day?
At face value, these are simple concepts to think about and even commit to. It’s not always easy to implement in day-to-day life.
I don’t want you beating yourself up when you add strife and hurt into the world. For now, I just want you to notice. Eventually, I want you to make amends with people you diss or judge or hate because they’re not like you. Or make amends to your family or co-workers if you are an asshole for some reason on a given day. Or make things right with your partner for your poor behavior.
The Gottman rule of thumb is a ratio of 5:1. This is the 80/20 rule of relationships. You’re not shooting for perfect. You’re working on ‘Good enough.’ This means you need 80% healthy interactions with others (sure, go ahead and aim higher). And you get to honestly and intentionally apologize for the 20%.
Apologizing doesn’t mean just saying, “Sorry.” That’s not going to cut it. You need to own your blunder without blaming the other person for it. You need to give empathy, so s/he knows you understand what you did was hurtful in some way.
It might look like this:
You: I realize I was kinda shitty with you about ______________. That must have felt ______________, _________________, and ¬¬-__________. (for example, condescending, hurtful, and like you don’t matter to me) I’m really sorry. You mean so much to me. Will you accept my apology?
Him/Her: I did feel hurt, and as though I was supposed to comply, and that I’m unimportant to you. I appreciate that you get it. Yes, I’ll accept your apology.
If you have to apologize a lot, consider getting couples counseling. You’re either doing too many (more than the 5:1) behaviors that don’t fly with your partner, or you’re walking on eggshells because your relationship is problematic in some way, or ___________________ (you fill in the blank here.)
Focus on adding peace and respect (kindness) into the world. You need it as much as everyone else does.
Please share stories of adding peace and respect to your partner, kids, friends, family or co-workers, and how you felt after you did.