Endings don’t always mean that you have to walk away completely.
“Ending” can mean pressing the reset button but refusing to continue a pattern.
A Divorce is an ending that is final. Quitting a job is an ending that cannot be undone. But are there times when you really want to end a part something but maintain the THING itself?
An example would a divorce where you keep the friendship with your ex. OR…quitting your horrible job but still going out to happy hour with your old co-workers.
Sounds doable, right?
How about something more complex? What if I suggested ending a sad, frustrating phase of a relationship and moving on to a new, more healthy and loving phase?
Whether it is a friendship or a romantic relationship chances are it can be saved if both people value it. The key is to step back and look at the relationship in an objective way and figure out what the good parts are.
Do you trust this person? If not, stop here. If you do, that’s a huge reason to fix it, not end it.
Do they understand who you are? If not. Stop here. If they do, relish in that. It’s not a given in any relationship.
Do you respect this person? If not…well…you get the idea… If you do, do they respect you back?
Now, feeling respected and someone respecting you are two different thngs. You can “feel” disrespected and the other person can even act disrespectful, but that doesn’t always be they don’t respect you.
Let’s tackle this one!
Respect. So, you have been in this friendship or romantic dealio for years. This person knows your family, most of your friends. Your lives are intertwined in deep meaningful ways. But, for some reason, right now, you are butting heads and hurting each other.
#1: Do you care about this person enough to try to fix this issue and stay in this relationship? Yes? Good!
#2: Can you talk this person into and open and honest conversation about what you are both feeling? Yes? Brilliant!
#3: Are you ready to do the work? I hope so.
If you are having trouble listening to each other, why not try a “talking circle”.
Location, location, location! This can be done by going to a neutral place. NO! Your living room or bedroom is NOT a nuetral place. Try a park under a tree or the top of a mountain. The fresh air and sounds of natutre will help to create a nurturing and peaceful environment for your talk.
Choose a talking object. This object will be held by the person talking so that only one person talks at a time. This item can be a stick, a pen or an actual talking stick. I have a beautiful talking stick gifted to me by a friend. The more meaningful the object, the better chance it will be respected. Feathers are always nice for this.
Rules. There are a few basic rules for a talking circle. a) be honest b) listen actively when the other person is speaking. No thinking about your next “move” or whatever c) do not interrupt when the other person is speaking unless a swarm of killer bees is right behind them d) no intentionally hurtful jabs
Sit face to face…with enough personal space so that you can’t actually reach out and slap them if they say something you don’t like. This is a peaceful process! Don’t get any ideas. Sheesh!
Decide who will start. This way you agree on who gets to talk first. It is typically the person who asked for the talking circle, otherwise you may just get a “why the heck are we here?” then the object passed back to you.
Remember, your purpose for holding this talking circle. You don’t want this friendship or romantic relationship to be over. Right? You want the bad feelings and behavior to end. Keep that purpose in mind when you speak. State that purpose. Repeat it half way through if needed.
If respect is not the only issue, then save the other issues for the next talk or restart the circle for the second topic. They may be some overlap, but try to stay focused and not overwhelm yourselves.
This technique can be done with two people or a group. Think of all the things you and your family or co-workers could talk though? Maybe you don’t have to quit that job after all! caution: if you want to do this at work, get buy in from your boss first.
Well, that’s all…happy “talking”.
My wish is that your “endings” are the beginning of something wonderful.
How could a talking circle help you? Talk to me about it in the comments area. I promise to listen actively.