For most of us, relationships – whether with our family, friends, or new loved ones – can be pretty challenging. We come to each with our own set of expectations, desires, and needs, which are largely unknown or unrealized by the people we are relating to. And this eventually results in tension, which can be difficult to resolve. Understandably, some of us react to these moments of disconnect with acts or words of anger, which more often than not, results in the same response from our loved one.
Avoiding the anger response can be immensely difficult, but if we can manage to choose mindfulness, empathy, and patience in the midst of discord, our relationships will flourish as a result. Turns out, these qualities are all components of compassion, as author Piero Ferrucci notes in THE POWER OF KINDNESS. And it is compassion that connects us to others. So, the next time you find yourself in an argument with someone you care about, embrace kindness by choosing:
- Mindfulness – by being present in the current moment. By doing this, we become more aware of the expectations and biases we carry and can see the issue more objectively. It also allows us to be attentive to actually listen to what our loved one is expressing.
- Empathy – by drawing on our own suffering to understand the suffering of our loved one. And even if we can’t relate entirely to their stance, the ability to imagine how they might feel in their situation helps us to resolve the argument.
- Patience – by respecting another person’s rhythm and weaknesses. Realizing that another person’s priorities and circumstances will rarely match ours helps us to accept our loved one’s differences.