I am in the middle of an argument. Kind of a stand-off, actually. When this happens, I tend to stew in it. I waffle between replaying all the ways I have been wronged, and all the ways I did wrong. I fantasize about going back and making it not happen. I get self-righteous. And also full of shame. And while all this is happening, it distracts me from the rest of my life.
So sometimes, out of desperation, I want to do something that will make it better immediately. So that I can be ok.
This is when I remind myself:
There is no urgency.
When we argue…
Things get heated. We get triggered and react. Words are spoken. Feelings get hurt. We blame, take a stance, find fault… and it becomes a mess.
Then there is an agonizing, unresolved rift.
The temptation is to go in for the quick fix. BUT. This is when we are most likely to “fix” in ways that will poison us with resentment later. Saying or doing the thing that will appease, sweeping it under the rug, making excuses, deflecting blame or lashing out...
In a relationship with staying power, there is no urgency to fix.
It can be uncomfortable… excruciating even… to let some time pass and give it space. To allow the flare of triggers and emotions to equalize. To sit with the uncertainty. And aloneness. (Not to mention- it's hard to contain yourself when you know you are SO RIGHT.)
But in this time and space we can recenter ourselves, find the ground, get to the root of what the issue is, for us. See what our part is in the discord. Get clarity on what matters most. (And let go of self-righteousness a little bit.)
The other person can have the opportunity to do this, too.
You can be very open about this. “I’m not ready to talk about this yet.” Or, “Resolving this is important to me, but I need some time first.” Or simply, "I need a time out."
Instead of this:
Fuel the flames by rehashing all the ways you have been wronged.
Call a friend who will commiserate by finding fault with the other person.
Distract yourself with unhealthy habits.
Engage in black and white thinking about the relationship.
Trust… that the time and space will help reveal important truths.
Allow the discomfort.Remember that this is hard because it's uncomfortable. It doesn’t feel good, but you have done uncomfortable things. And you can do this.
Breathe. Feel the ground underneath you.
Notice what you are telling yourself.
Engage with something. (Other than this person.)
Give yourself at least enough time and space so that you know you are responding and not reacting.
When you have equalized, determine what matters most. Consider what would help you feel better. Reflect on some things you love about this person.
When you’re ready to be open to sharing what’s true for you and really listening to the other person, speak those things.
And ask for them in return.
Sometimes this can lead to resolution. Sometimes to more discord. It's ok. Eventually the dust will settle and truths will be known.
And truth is worth the wait.
There is no urgency. Trust the space.