May 3 is National Lumpy Rug Day which is basically means it' time to do some spring cleaning and get rid of a lot of your junk. Literally, the lumps in the rug usually come from the furniture that has been sitting around in the same place for ages but in close relationships, those lumps come from sweeping things under the rug.
When something is too embarrassing, shameful or dreadful, some people just prefer to ignore it instead of dealing with it. "Maybe if I just forget to mention that I am angry about something as minor as leaving lights on in a room, it will just go away," we tell ourselves hopefully. Sadly, it’s pretty astounding how quickly those different ecological points of view can escalate into a major electrical short circuit with sparks flying in all directions!
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After a short time, instead of a few small lumps that could have been dealt with quickly and easily by shaking up the rug a bit, airing it out or moving the furniture we now have a huge lump of fear, anxiety, anger and resentment. There isn’t a dust pan big enough to gather up and dispose of the accumulation of assumptions, judgments and feelings that everyone has been sweeping under the rug. Now the lump is so big you just can't avoid tripping over it anymore.
More often, though, the lump under the rug isn't about how to load the dishwasher or who forgot to pick up the dry cleaning…again. It’s about men and women having different communication styles when it comes to negotiating the inevitable conflicts that arise between two people in a close relationship. It's about avoiding conflict as much as possible, putting your head in the sand and hoping it will all blow over.
He wants to air his annoyance, make his point and be respected and if he doesn’t feel respected, he may become testy. Women, on the other hand, are seeking reassurance that the relationship is solid and feel a stronger need to feel safe and secure. Men want to feel respected, no matter what, and women want to feel safe and reassured, no matter what. Of course, both want to be respected and loved, too.
When that isn't happening, people back away from communication and start sweeping stuff under the corners of the rug.
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When one or both parties begin to feel a lack of reassurance, lack of love or lack of respect, those minor incidences might blow-up into major knock-down drag-out fights, filled with accusations, justifications and defensiveness. On the other hand, if left unaddressed out of fear or resignation, you guessed it – people bottle up, “forget” to mention it and keep sweeping the junk under the rug until they’ve got a mountain of dirt.
Does this sound familiar? Isn't it about time to stop sweeping things under the rug and speak up with confidence and dignity and ditch the blame game? If so, then make today the day you decide to swat the lumps out while they’re still small. Commit to airing out your differences with some renewed declarations about resolving conflict before you’re back to sweeping things under the rug again until you're tripping over that really big lump you can no longer ignore.