It’s Day 44 (reset) of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and as despite the fact that it very well may signal the end of a relationship, I’m disengaging from dysfunctional discourse with someone. All of my life, I’ve tried to be a person who avoids conflict. Most of time that manifests itself in me not voicing my feelings or opinions because they differed from those of others. And I don’t really mind doing that with an inconsequential choice or topic. It really didn’t matter to me what game we cousins played as children, so I let them pick. I like most foods, so I’m usually up for the whatever restaurant whoever I’m with prefers. More often than not, I don’t have a dog in the fight of the moment. Sometimes, however, when the stakes are high –– when it’s a crucial conversation –– I’m compelled to have a discussion, debate or even a mild disagreement (Though these all start with D, I don’t consider them to be Ds as in the challenges women face). When the stakes are high, I attempt to keep the goal of a crucial conversation –– to preserve the relationship –– in mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m perfect at it. But am I intentional about it? I can say Yes with assurance. So when I’m doing my best to use the tools in my belt –– Using “I” Statements, Active Listening, Positive Sentiment Override, etc. and the other individual is aggressive, argumentative and downright argumentative, as I’ve gotten older and hopefully grown in all the life domains, I consistently find myself disengaging from dysfunctional discourse.
The recent pounding I took from an individual about one of the above items not being an unplanned expense reminded me that not everyone has as many tools in their belt. If they’ve only got a hammer, everything looks like a nail. That’s not a judgment call or superiority on my part. It’s actually pity that even people –– me included –– who love the Lord and may even love the person with whom they’re embroiled in conflict –– are so intent on making their point that it becomes more important than the person and maintaining the relationship.
For now, I’m choosing to press pause on this one. Prayerfully, the person will be receptive to learning about other tools they can add to their belt. Until that happens, I’m dis-engaging from the dysfunctional discourse and lifting the person up in prayer while I continue working on my own communication skills. By doing so, I’m minimizing the communication barrier and maximizing beauty and my best life. I pray you’ll bePink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about adding communication tools to your repertoire as well. If you do, you can minimize communication barriers and live your best life, too.
It’s Day 299 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project and I’m finding that it’s sometimes easier to preach/coach on positive sentiment override than it is to practice it. I was first introduced to this principle when another couple gave my hubby and me the book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman, PhD, when we embarked on our marriage to each other after very difficult divorces from our ex-spouses. In describing positive sentiment override at work in a marriage Gottman states “This means their positive thoughts about each other and their marriage are so pervasive that they tend to supersede negative feelings. It takes a much more significant conflict for them to lose their equilibrium as a couple than it would otherwise. Their positivity causes them to fell optimistic about each other and their marriage, to assume positive things about their lives together, and to give each other the benefit of the doubt.” (pg.20-21). Heading toward our 12th anniversary as a couple, we’ve both done a fairly good job at adhering to this excellent advice, but to be completely honest, sometimes we fall short. Especially considering we both brought a lot of baggage from those previous relationships into the marriage. Coaching others is easy; putting it into practice myself – not so much.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose blogger, I feel like Julie (played by Rachel Adams) in Julie and Julia, the 2009 film about Julie, an aspiring author who starts a blog about cooking her way through every recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child (played by Meryl Streep). Julie and her husband have a massive fight and his last words as he leaves their apartment for the night are, “Do NOT blog about this!” She starts to but doesn’t…That movie inspired me to blog and NOT to when I shouldn’t. So I won’t share what has my hubby and I at odds other than it’s a D – or a challenge we Pink Collar Swans face – a disagreement…I will say that he has so many wonderful qualities and that God really did bless the broken road that led us to one another. That being the case, I’ll just request prayers as I try to practice the positive sentiment override that I preach – I mean coach – on with my coaching clients.
How are you Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose about using positive sentiment override in your marriage or relationship? How can this principle be applied to other relationships on the home-front or in the workplace?
It’s Day 290 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and today I experienced one of those God-things regarding a stressful situation – It’s finally time to talk about it! I’ve been praying for wisdom and seeking guidance from trusted advisors concerning some difficult conversations I believe need to take place in order for the situation to improve. While God doesn’t speak to me audibly, He speaks loud and clearly through His Word, the Bible. There it’s apparent that truth – spoken in love – is always the right response. Seldom does sweeping things under the carpet or ignoring the elephant in the room ever resolve an issue. Contemplating thus, I drove to a meeting and heard the lyrics, We can’t see for the elephant in the room; we’ve got to talk about it! piping over the airwaves. Confirmation! Later the other parties involved in the situation made it clear that they feel it’s time to talk about it, too. Total confirmation!
Coming from a dysfunctional family (one of the Ds or barriers women face) where issues were dealt with using extreme avoidance or extreme aggression, I’ll admit I struggle with conversations that are fraught with conflict. God designed me to be an Abigail, or a peacemaker, but because I’ve often had to engage in fight or flight to protect myself, conflict tempts me to default to my old coping mechanisms – retreating completely or defending my position to the death (not literally though)! Through the grace of God, lots of work on myself, and eleven years with a man who models Christ’s unconditional love for me, I’ve learned new coping skills. My heart’s desire has always been to be the one to break the generational cycle of dysfunction in my family. It runs deep and wide. In and of myself, I know it’s impossible. “But with God, all things are possible!” – Matthew 19:26. These conversations will be hard, but we’re not getting anywhere ignoring the issues. It’s gotten to the point where it’s hard to see the love for the elephant in the room.
As a Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Christ follower, I read a devotional every day. Today it was about being a risk-taker. It discussed facing things that feel terrifying because we see the potential benefit. Even if that means a enduring a difficult transition to get there…Taking the risk requires courage and weighing the positives and negatives in order experience peace before we move forward. I did this recently with a dear friend, instead of avoiding the conversation, and thankfully it turned out well. That interaction gives me hope for this situation. I ask for your prayers as I take next steps because it’s far past time to talk about it.
Have you ever treated a difficult situation at home or work like the elephant in the room and ignored it? How were you Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose when you finally decided to address it?