Our relationships deserve to exist in an optimum relational climate and each one of us has the power and the responsibility to generate it.
One of the top 3 Merriam-Webster dictionary definitions of climate is described as:
The usual or most widespread mood or conditions in a place. Ponder for a minute, how the synergy of several variables in the atmosphere delivers our moment-to-moment climate conditions and how vulnerable we are to it. We are perpetual hosts of the world-climate’s will, a deeply humbling experience, yet, a necessary one, to keep abreast of our surroundings and (un)predictable factors in check. Conversely, when it comes to our relational climate we are the sole artisans of setting the stage for the kind of climate where one would wish to build a year-round dream vacation home!
“Some people create their own storms and then get mad when it rains” by Anonymous.
I’ve experienced “stormy” relational times on and off in my life and often blamed everyone around me for it. It took a bad storm a few years back, to give me the courage to look within and do my part to change the climate inside and around me. I didn’t expect that the outcome of this internal shift would feel so liberating, squashing my deep fear of being outwitted. How others around me responded was and is out of my control but I vowed to stop creating storms and make it my business to help others do the same. Every one of us deserves this gift!
I’d like to share 4 paradigms that will help you set the stage for a Shangri-La relational climate-style, what may be preventing you from doing it and why it is in your best interest to do so.
A peek into why we self sabotage the climate we live in:
Although the majority of individuals are well-meaning and most marriages are made up of well-meaning individuals, when familiarity sets in and depending mainly on one’s upbringing blueprint- we, at times, behave in nasty ways which alters the marital or family climate in a toxic way. As brain research expands and studies focus more on what helps us evolve smarter and healthier, evidence points to how our overall existence is wrapped up in the quality of our partner’s presence in our lives. Parallel to this, the current agenda for partnering leaves in the dust the days of feeling content with the breadwinner and childrearing operational roles into yearning for “soul” mates, the kind of bond that trumps any other. This transition, from originally only expecting and falling into traditional roles, to longing for a life-partner with all the “bells and whistles” has freed both men and women to ask for what they really want and deserve, a luxury-style kind of relationship. Sadly, how some individuals are claiming this longing is by means of intimidation: “you’d better” rather than accountability: “I’d better”.
Setting the stage for a luxury-style relationship compels co-creating an inviting climate.
In my work with couples, the concept of climate-co-creation gets lost a bit when one or both partners are rigidly stuck on how ugly their counterpart is behaving: ” you do me wrong, I will see that and raise you up a notch or two” or, “I give up and live miserably”. This type of stances fuel violence: “I hate you or I hate me for putting up with you”. Without a hearty climate, conversations are avoided, boundaries are violated and fights get dirty. The fatalities are usually your well-being, the children, the pets, anybody that gets in the way and the marriage itself.
Last week a client told me while describing how she was treating her husband: “I know I am being abusive and aggressive with my words and tone, but he has been horrible to me”. This is a bad move. These behaviors create an uncomfortable atmosphere at best and a minefield at worst.
You deserve better and so do those around you.
Our relationships live in the climate we co-create and living in a climate of kindness, respect and comfort feeds our well-being and breathes life into our human essence.
The better the climate in your home and in your thoughts, the better you will feel, create, live, work, parent and partner. It is in your best interest to do so, because, as master therapist and renowned author, Terry Real, puts it: “you are part of your family’s ecosystem”.
You’ll know you are on a path to co-create a Shangri-la-like-climate when you flag yourself with these 4 notions:
- WHAT YOU SAY
Contain your histrionics: Moping around silently or spreading meanness is just off limits.
Express what you feel, why you feel it and how it affects you, but DO NOT inflict it onto your partner or family and justify it because you were wronged:” I am furious and disappointed at my boss for skipping me for that promotion I’d worked hard for and I feel like a failure” vs. slamming the door, downing a six pack, berating your son for leaving a toy in your way or cursing at the pizza delivery guy.
- HOW YOU SAY IT
Tune your tone: Unloading your frustrations with no filter is never OK.
When you speak, check your tone: is it loud, harsh, demeaning, sarcastic or contemptuous or kind, patient and inviting? If you can’t tell the difference, use a mirror and be frank about how you’d feel if the roles were reversed.
- WHEN YOU SAY IT
Time your comments: Pace yourself. Breathe. Judge your radius.
The time to teach your daughter to be polite with others is NOT in front of others. Contain your own anxiety and /or insecurities and pace yourself. When you are getting ready to go to work is hardly the time to “get something off your chest”. Never ambush, always ask: “is this a good time to…?”
- WHY YOU SAY IT
Check your agenda: Be mindful, not spontaneous.
Know what your purpose for doing, saying or approaching a situation is. Be spontaneous at a restaurant if you want to go wild and try something new off the menu, but when it comes to relating to others, ask yourself: ”what am I looking to accomplish and who would benefit from this?” Just because you have a thought or a mouth , it doesn’t mean it has to be said or entertained. We have between 30 to 50 thoughts a minute and they are not all worth sharing.
If you are wondering why step into this mini revolution to change the climate of your world, ask yourself what kind of world you’d rather be a part of and then, take the reigns.
I hope you take a BOLD step towards creating the kind of relational climate within and around you, you’d want to run home to every day; your parenting, partnering, peace of mind, creativity, and spirit will thank you for it.
To gentler winds,