Transforming Relationships — Simple!
My brother recently spent the night at our condo on Hollywood Beach in Florida. When he entered the bathroom to shower, he discovered my Kindle lying near the sink. He quickly came out to say, “You shouldn’t keep your Kindle in the bathroom. The steam could ruin it.”
I said, “Ok.” He asked, “Where do you want me to put it?” I replied, “On my dresser.”
Seems simple enough, yes? So why has this replayed in my mind several times since?
Because my response to Stephen was unusual. Highly unusual. For most of our lives, the interaction would have sounded more like this:
“You shouldn’t keep your Kindle in the bathroom. The steam could ruin it.”
“No it won’t.”
“Yes it will.”
(As our voices elevate, they take on that singsong “I’m right, you’re wrong” tone.)
“I’ve kept that Kindle in the bathroom for three years and it hasn’t been a problem yet!”
“You’ll see (I’m right).”
In the past, I would have expected an antagonistic exchange with my brother (and then would have met my expectations, by golly.) But this time I felt differently. I felt no animosity, no need to prove I was “right” even though I knew I would return my Kindle to the bathroom after he left.
Since that incident I’ve been pondering, “How did I change a lifetime of habitually responding?” I realized that in the past year or so I have consciously chosen to focus on and appreciate my brother’s good points and to stop being so judgmental about what used to drive me crazy. In other words, I had embodied the Revolutionary Agreement, “I agree to see the best in myself and others” – including my brother!
That day in my condo I listened with my heart (another agreement) and what I heard was Stephen’s concern. His caring. His wanting to do something thoughtful for me.
Why am I feeling a lump in my throat as I write this? Perhaps it is because of all the years of fighting — of being mean or angry or hurt – that came from a different way of listening to and seeing my brother.
Seeing the best in him has transformed our relationship from antagonistic to loving. Could it be that simple? Yes, it’s undeniable: we see what we believe.
With whom would you like to transform your relationship? Are you willing to see the best in that person? Please share any transformative experiences as you fully embrace this (or any other) Agreement. Together we can not only transform our lives, but transform our world.
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