Did someone you love misunderstood you, or hurt your feelings recently?

How did you handle it?

My tendency: stick up for myself, to “make” them understand me! But this usually leads to more conflict! Others of us tend to: snap back defensively, be sarcastic, give them the silent treatment, or make a mean comment.

If you feel stung by something they did or said, your claws may instinctively come out because you want to protect yourself! You may try to put them in their place or hurt them back.  Does this help? We all know the answer…the result is continued misunderstanding and pain.

Why do we do this? Our hearts are vulnerable, so we try to protect our them! We’ve been hurt before. Now, we stand guard around pain that comes our way, hoping to prevent it or defend when attacked! The uncanny thing: guarding our hearts can harden them. No one wants this added stress during the holiday season!

In love, we are not goaltenders.

Instead of reacting to a friend or loved one by lashing out or retracting, here are 6 tips to imbed new responses:

1) Decide you want to feel better, not worse, within 24 hours
2) Turn up your conscious awareness of the entire situation, not just on your own feelings
3) Allow for the comfort of empathy and kindness, first toward yourself, then for them
4) De-activate the thoughts or painful memories that feed your wounded heart
5) Within an appropriate window of time, be brave and reopen your hurting heart
6) Be receptive to when your beloved is ready to talk or move forward. We are not often in synch with each other in our readiness!

Breathe consciously into your heart; listen to your angry or sad thoughts like they are your friends, and soften. It’s unnatural. But this softness is very strong and flexible, like a soapy dish sponge, and it cleans out the “buts” and “shoulds,” making way for graciousness.

Misunderstandings are normal in close, real relationships. Let your brave, resilient heart lead, to mend them.

Asserting loving, healthy boundaries is different from building cocoons of artificial protection. A softer heart is not the end-all, but it can guide the good intentions behind our subsequent communications after conflict.

Love is the fiercest force. Bendable, flexible, openhearted love. Start now and keep it going during the new year!

Instead of hardening your heart, try softening it.


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Love from Your Braveologist,