Oh, the love/hate day is here once again. Of course, showing love should be more than once a year….yet, Valentines Day always brings out the uber-romantic in me.
Since today is Valentines Day, let me take this time to thank you for being part of my world. It means so much to me and that we can be passionate about building a world of open dialogue based in respect-filled communication. My irrational passion for respect-filled communication comes from an earlier time of being misunderstood, being loose to judge and quick to verbally defend what I thought was ‘right.’ I was guilty of all those and more…yet, we don’t have to stay trapped.
Although Valentines Day can make people feel trapped, this is one of those days so packed with emotion that the ‘landmines’ are literally underfoot, waiting for the tongue to trip up and set off a cascade of unintended events. In my one-to-one coaching, I often hear how this day is fraught with emotions – both positive and negative. It’s packed with opportunity to create more love, or more fights, even loneliness can consume our thoughts.
A few years ago being single and on the road on this fateful day, I went into a ‘fancy’ restaurant for dinner and was refused service as I was dining alone…. The expectations surrounding this day abound!!
It doesn’t have to be big, dramatic or even on purpose to harm a relationship. Too often I see even the well-meaning hurt their loved ones with a dismissive gesture, an emotional bid* left unresponded to or a word spoken in haste that can never be taken back. (I won’t even bother to mention the thought-filled words spoken to harm, minimize, judge or offered as ‘constructive feedback.’)
The Three Big Eros (Love) Errors are:
- Reading their mind, and just as bad, us assuming they can read our mind. It’s great when we’ve been together so long we are used to the habits and preferences of others, but do we really know? The first Eros Error is when we think we ‘know’ just what the other person wants/feels/needs. Take responsibility and speak up. Use first person statements such as ‘I feel,’ ‘I think.’ None of this 'You always,' 'You never,' crap! Admit it, you hate it when your partners/friends tell you what you are thinking, so why should they like it anymore than we do?
- Not speaking a love language our partner understands. Often, I hear he/she should just know…. Why? We all express love, affection, caring and friendship differently. Does your partner express love through action and you through words? Be attuned to how your partner shows love and share in that same language. The five love languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch from Dr. Gary Chapman’s landmark book The 5 Love Languages®. If you haven’t read this book, it’s a must read for communicating with those you love. http://sharonsayler.com/love-language This is not an affiliate link. I just love the book!
- Refusing to give the benefit of the doubt. Often we get distracted and say things too quickly or we jump to conclusions and mistake the motivation behind our partners’ words and actions. When we jump to conclusions, we can say and do things we will regret and cause greater harm to one another and our relationships.
Have a great day whatever your Valentines Adventures are!
To Life! To Success!
p.s. Remember to Kiss Slowly and Forgive Quickly. I was at a craft show the other day where I bought a beautiful fused glass coaster with the words “Kiss Slowly Forgive Quickly” embedded within. I wish I knew who to attribute those four profound words to alas I don’t, thank you who ever you are….
* Emotional bids are from Dr. John Gottman’s work. He has a fun quiz over at http://www.gottman.com/qz2/bidsforconnection.html if you would like to learn more.