Ken Donaldson and Manage You First: The Fine Art of Dancing in the Relationship Canoe
“Soul-mates are people who bring out the best in you. They are not perfect but are always perfect for you.” ~Author Unknown
Imagine two lovers in a canoe fully enjoying the bliss of each other’s company as they’re paddling down this beautiful river of life.
Suddenly, one of them turns to adjust to some minor rapids…the canoe suddenly becomes unstable and the pleasure and harmony the two of them had been sharing suddenly disappears into fear and shock.
“What the heck are you doing?!!…Stop rocking the canoe,” one shouts to the other.
Then the unthinkable happens…one of them is flung from the canoe into the water.
And the blame game then commences.
“Look what you made me do…you made me fall into the water…you moron!”
“I was just trying to help…can’t you see that? Besides, you’ll dry off,” is a typical rational, but yet defensive response.
“Trying to help?!! How the #!#!!! was that helping?!!”
“Quit overreacting…You’re always so dramatic!”
“You insensitive #!!##%!!…thank you so much for caring!”
“Great…and now you have to get sarcastic just like your mother!”
What’s going on here?
This is called “life showing up in the midst of the relationship”, but certainly not the optimal management of such.
Let’s face it, there will be times when life suddenly and unexpectedly turns and throws you a wicked screwball.
These are the moments when you’re all tested to see how well you can manage stress, self, life and relationships.
Not always an easy juggling act.
But here are 7 simple steps and reminders that will prove to be helpful:
1.) When unexpected change occurs (like rapids in the river of life), do your best to communicate to each other about what you’re doing to respond to the situation. “Honey, I’m going to shift myself to the other side of the canoe…just wanted to let you know.”
2.) In case the former (#1) does NOT occur, do your best to respond to the unexpected reaction of your partner in as graceful a way as possible. “I’m noticing you’re moving…what are you going to do next? What would be best for me to do?”
I know…sounds too simple, doesn’t it? The simple stuff is almost always best when it comes to effective communication.
3.) And should the unfortunate happen and you accidentally get flung out of the comfort of your canoe into the river of life, it’s best to simply request some assistance first and foremost. “I was wondering if you could help me.”
Again, simple is simple…and best!
4.) Be reminded that the primary connection point in any relationship is the ability to understand and support each other. Too often, when an emotional charge is introduced, one or both people in the relationship turn their backs on each other or, worse yet, attack each other.
That’s a great way to sink the canoe in a hurry!
5.) That being said, it’s important to remind yourself that you can override your emotional state. Even though emotions are very powerful and sometimes seem to be in control, you and your logical mind actually have the final say.
Find your sanity and say something nice…yes, simple, right?!!
6.) When you get into the canoe, you might want to remind each other of the possibility of rapids. Although it’s impossible to plan for every change that occurs in life, it’s always good to have a proactive plan when you can.
7.) Listen first; speak later…then listen more; and speak much later. Active listening is your most powerful ally. It’ll keep you from saying something that you may regret later, as well as anything that could be potentially hurtful.
Remember: Your partner is a human being with emotions…do what YOU can to take care of those emotions…when you both do that, you have an unbeatable team against the stress, change and strain of life.
Then, when you have done all that, you’ll be able to dance in your relationship canoe and maintain the balance of life.
Yep, you will.