Years ago, when I was beginning my speaking career, I developed several talks I call the “hand talks.” Basically, I took five key concepts and used my hand to tick them off as I spoke. They were great because not only could I remember them without notes for the most part, my audience could remember them, too.
There was only one tiny problem. You may have already thought of it.
When I got to my middle finger, I had to develop a strategy so I wasn’t offending part of the audience. A flaw in my plan. Eventually I learned to hold up THREE fingers when I got to that part, and everyone seemed to understand.
One of the “hand talks” was on marriage … which makes sense since I was, and still am, a relationship therapist. My first finger – my thumb – was the primary talking point for the whole speech.
And it was: Take divorce off the table. My point then – and now – still is that, if you refuse to entertain the idea of breaking up, you will go to great lengths to make your relationships work.
This cuts across all relationships! Obviously it’s significant in marriage, but it also works in friendships, business and personal partnerships and all kinds of other close relationships. Refuse to entertain the idea that it won’t work, and it will, because you will make it work.
In other words, be all in.
All in is a concept I really like. What is the point of NOT being all in? Ever? In anything?
In all you do, be there. Be present. Really BE where you are, and make the most of all of it. If you are doing something hard, be all in and do it. If you are with someone, be all in and be with them. All in honors the person you are with, personally, professionally, or otherwise. It lets them know you care, and are committed to making your relationship work, no matter what it is or how hard that might turn out to be. It says that you have commitment, compassion and reason.
Here are some ideas to help:
Understand there are subjective realities. I can look at something from one side and see something different than someone looking from the other side can. Grace, patience and understanding go a long way toward letting people know that you can be non-judgmental and compassionate, even when you don’t see eye-to-eye.
Talk out your differences. Don’t stuff them, or lose it. Try to be calm, rational and discuss things like adults. If you can’t, table the discussion, calm yourself, and come back to it later.
Cultivate a positive approach. Don’t only think to yourself, say it, act it. Make it the way you focus your energy and thoughts about your relationships.
Remember, it’s unlikely your partner is the enemy. We get caught in the trap of thinking of them that way, and that leads to disaster, and sometimes the end of the relationship.
Ask questions, and don’t assume you know the answer. Be open to what the other says, and don’t immediately discount their point of view. Asking questions is the best way I know to actually figure out what’s going on in someone else’s head.
Share your experiences, your thoughts and your dreams, but don’t take up all the air in the room – be a good listener for your partner, too. If you want them to hear you, let them know you hear them, too.
In every relationship, it’s important to stay focused. Being all in is one way of being more positive; of being more open to getting out of yourself and accepting another, with all of their foibles and faults (remembering you have these, too).
I urge you to consider all your relationships, and see where you need to be more all in.
At Sanctuary Christian Counseling, we like to challenge people – Imagine being your best self: we can help you get there. If we can help you, please let us know.
Sanctuary Christian Counseling 717-200-3158
9974 Molly Pitcher Highway, Suite 4
Shippensburg, PA 17257