Is it all really about me?

"...about a week later, I caught myself complaining to Paul that he is always telling me how to park the car in the garage."

A couple of weekends ago Paul and I were leading a Relationships: The Real Deal workshop here in Washington, D.C. One of the issues we addressed was the recurring complaints that partners often have about each other.

About a week later, I caught myself complaining to Paul that he is always telling me how to park the car in the garage. He said that I parked too close to the left wall and it was difficult for him to squeeze into the driver’s seat. I finally exploded and yelled, “I’m trying my best. I just can’t always meet your standard. So please stop complaining and telling me your opinion about how to do it better.”  We were both frustrated.

Very soon after that, I realized that I had been resisting Paul’s suggestions because I had been listening to what he was saying as a complaint and criticism of ME, not just my way of parking. And I also remembered about making requests. So I asked Paul to sit in the passenger’s seat and teach me to do it his way.

Voila!  I learned how to park so that Paul can get into the car comfortably.  It’s easier and more pleasant for me, too. I simply stopped resisting his request – which I had only heard as a complaint and criticism of ME.

A short time later, I found myself arranging our kitchen utensils in the utensil carousel in a way that Paul had been suggesting (requesting) for years, with like utensils placed together instead of randomly in any old opening. I had finally become aware that Paul’s intent was to make our lives easier, not to complain about or criticize me. It only took me a few minutes to rearrange a few items. I’m pleased with myself and smiling, and I feel less tense.

Paul is now not occurring to me as a critic, complaining that I don’t do things his way all the time. When I’m not viewing him as a complaining critic and I’m not defending my point of view, I can see that it is his intention to have our everyday life be one that we both love. Now that’s a MIRACLE!

Wishing miracles for all of you,

Carol (and Paul)

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