We often need to stretch ourselves to accept new ideas into our mind. As most of what we do is habitual and happens almost automatically – our reactions, behaviors and responses. In most cases we don’t stop and take time to think about our feelings as reactions to certain situations. We just assume that whatever our reaction it is right, and in a way it defines who we are now, based on our past experiences and observations.
Our mind is highly subjective and self-centered. We look at the world through the paradigm of our own experiences and history from the past. If we got used that loud voice is usually a sign of negativity or anger – we would automatically respond in a defensive way trying to protect ourselves from more hurt coming. It is almost like we carry a big baggage of opinions, judgments and perceptions. Even a slight possibility of those beliefs being challenged makes us panic and seeds a fear of losing our stability in this self-created world.
That’s why we are so hard to change. I believe everyone had at least once wished to change something in them and even more so in their partner. But look at it this way – how many times have you broken your New Year’s resolutions? How many times you promised yourself to give up that bad habit of yours and never did? This is what you have to understand that your partner is exactly the same! He is not so keen on adopting the new habits or behaviors, especially if he is not even aware of that change needed.
Often we are the first ones to criticize, to point out our partner’s mistakes or imperfections. And we typically think – “if he could just not do this or do that another way, we would be so much happier together”. Of course, there is nothing wrong with finding compromises on some major issues, but in all cases, you have to firstly ask yourself:
- Does this behavior of my partner really bother me so much so there is no way I can live with it?
- Could I possibly change my perception or attitude towards this so it stopped bothering me?
- If it was me who was supposed to change this – how easy would it be?
And only after you have given some thought to the answers to these questions, talk to your partner and explain your needs. Show him appreciation and understanding of his side of the situation first, and then talk about your desires. I am sure he will be much more willing to compromise once he knows he is appreciated and is cared for.