Pretend you are filming or photographing the important people in your life, and you want to capture “The 3 Most Important Things”. What would they be? In other words, what’s your focus?
Here’s one example:
My youngest grandkids live three hours away. To connect, I enjoy sending them photos I’ve taken. The photos are of the amazing things they’ve built, or a sweet moment of them playing together. I’m noticing and celebrating the best of who they are.
But now let’s look at an “average” relationship:
Where do we tend to point our camera? What’s the focus?
Seems to me that it’s often focused on “Things I Don’t Like About Him/Her.” or “What they did that bugged me.”
Here’s an example of that:
A friend was complaining about his wife: “She can’t tell a joke correctly. She always gives away the punchline at the beginning of the joke. And she gives away the ending of the program if she’s seen it before.”
The thing is we all know that he does value her, and he loves her deeply. Normally he compliments her lavishly to her and to other people. But on that day, he’d focused his camera on something bothering him. The trouble with that? Especially if we spend time being bothered, it’s hard for the other person to feel loved. And that doesn’t do much for the relationship.
So how do we get ourselves to shift our focus back out of a complaining or angry mood before we say or do something we’ll regret later?
Well, you know how sometimes two random things bump together in your brain, and all of a sudden – Insight!
This just happened to me.
I’d been thinking about how easy it is to fall into that “What bugs me about this other person” mode. And then I was on social media, and was soon in tears over the losses of too many friends’ family members, and the loving tributes they were giving for the one who had died.
And suddenly those two things bumped together!
Have you ever been with a group after a funeral? The kind where the person was dearly loved, and the family and friends are all sharing stories about the one they loved?
In my experience, they share the great things and the silly things their dear one had done. You’d hear “Oh, my Gosh! Remember how she could NOT tell a joke? She’d always give the punchline first!” and there would be laughter and tears as they remembered. “Or how she’d tell you the end of the program?” And you could tell that they’d give anything just to have her there to tell one more joke so badly, or to tell you the end of the program you were watching.
The Insight: Why wait until after they have died to celebrate all of who they are?
Celebrate and enjoy all the aspects of this person you love so dearly while they are there. In my imagination, if the wife tells her husband the end of the program he’s watching, the husband stops and playfully hugs his wife, nuzzling kisses all over her neck and face, and pretend growls, saying, “You told me the end of the program! You must pay the forfeit. 10 kisses!” Or whatever works in Your imagination is fine, too. And the emotional climate of that relationship – Yum!
And isn’t that more fun than getting angry over one small part of the amazing person that they are?
I think so, too. Let’s do it!