“It is necessary to change ourselves before we can bring that change out into the world, and change is often scary and uncomfortable.”
-Britney Stafford, from the book Check Your Privilege”
Upheaval is Scary
We are in a time of upheaval and, hopefully, change. While the quote above is from a book about changing one’s own attitudes about racism, the idea that upheaval and change can be uncomfortable and scary is not a new one and is easily applied to making changes in your relationship.
In psychology, there is a response to change that has been well observed. When one partner makes an uncomfortable change, the other one often unconsciously tries to push that partner back to the status quo, or the place that feels comfortable or knowable – even if that known place is unhealthy.
That probably happens in your relationship, too. Yet change comes about because at least one partner is determined to make him or herself better.
The changes that are most successful are those that are rooted in our own values, and in which we are only trying to change ourselves, not our partners. If you find you are belittling your partner, but believe strongly that your relationship should be based in respect, then your task is to learn to respect both yourself and your partner. You might still be angry, but you learn to express that anger respectfully and constructively, rather than as rage. You stop rolling your eyes. You teach yourself to ask questions to find out what your partner’s opinions are. You do this because respect is a critical value you hold and it’s important to live in alignment with one’s own value, not because it will or will not change your partner’s behaviors.
Have you thought lately about whether you are living in alignment with your values? Do you need to make changes that might feel uncomfortable or scary?
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