You're enjoying your romantic relationship then suddenly a disagreement unfolds and you find yourself immersed in intense feelings and thinking, "Oh goodness--this feels really awful!" How do you get back to the love zone that you were just enjoying?
Conficts are a natural part of relationships and are a bound to happen at some point. Yet, they don't have to be a source of angst or deterioration in the relationship.
These three tips can help you sail through those more choppy waters and return to the love zone more quickly.
Use Deep Breathing and Visualization to Diffuse Tension
It is amazing how we often forget to breathe deeply when we are in the midst of a disagreement with a loved one. Of course, diminished oxygen merely fuels unclear thinking and escalates negative emotions.
Try this next time. Instead of rushing forward to find the words to defend yourself or make your point, take a moment and simply engage in a twelve count breath pattern where you exhale for twelve counts and inhale for twelve counts. Perform this cycle at least three times.
As you breathe, allow yourself to connect with an image that is utterly silly or ridiculous--it might be an image of yourself sliding down a grassy hill on a cardboard box just screaming at the top of your lungs--blowing off steam. Whatever that image is, allow yourself to hold onto it as you breathe slowly.
It is almost impossible to stay frustrated, defensive, angry or tense when you breathe deeply and connect with an image that evokes humor.
This little mini-break can give you just enough time to pull back and regain your focus, calm and connect with a sense of empathy and fairness. It can also help you to remember that you love the person with whom you are disagreeing, and that this person loves you. It will remind you that this diagreement and unpleasant moment is merely a relationship bump--not a crash.
Use Touch to Remind Yourself that You are Connected to Your Love Even During Moments of Disagreement
When you have a disagreement and things become intense, the focus is often on being in our heads. Thus, we lose our mind/body connection.
Next time you are in the heat of a conflict, ask your partner if you can take a five to six minutes break and just hold hands.
Let him or her know that it doesnt mean you're discounting that the other person is upset or that you may be upset. It just means that you want to take a moment to reconnect through touch and see what insights that may bring to resolving the disagreement.
When you take your loved one's hand, really feel into the energy of palm touching palm. Be silent together and just take pause. Allow yourselves to focus on the physical sensation of touch.
Touch is an amazing form of communication that is often higher in energy and the power to resolve conflicts than using just our mouths and our minds to communicate. Give yourself a little touch break to remember that there are ways to communicate without arguing even when you deeply disagree with one another, or are upset with each other.
Apologize and Agree to Disagree
The words, "I'm so sorry you are experiencing what you are, " can be the most powerful balm to hurt or upset feelings because those words coommunicate an energy of empathy and validation. Yet, we often insist, instead of apologizing, on justifying or explaining our points of view in a way that does not really acknowledges the validity of what the other person is experiencing.
Apologizing doesn't mean that you are wrong and the other person is right. Apologizing is simply a way of communicating that you care more about what the other person is feeling and experiencing than about proving a point or "being right."
Along the same lines, agreeing to disagree is expression of validating that others are entitled to their own opinions and ideas that may be different than your own. It is an expression of respect and maturity.
Yet, when emotions are high, agreeing to disagree in a positive way can be one of the most difficult things to do. During such moments, you might need to rely on the first two tips, breathing and engaging touch, to remind yourself that you love and respect the person with whom you are experiencing a conflict.
When you can remember that love, often times the intensity of your emotions will diminish enough to find that space where you can feel safe to allow yourself into that space of differences, which can be used to help you both grow versus being the source of conflicts.