It's Not About Bananas
I can't believe I'm telling you this. The other day, my husband came through the door with a bag of groceries. Bananas in particular. " Honey," I asked, "why didn’t you ask ME if we needed anything?" I was secretly annoyed because I'd been planning a trip to the grocery store myself. He responded by telling me we were nearly out of bananas, which are an important part of his daily health drink. With my increasingly busy schedule, he decided to take responsibility for his own banana needs. Simple enough, right? Wrong. I got upset. I began to argue that he was insensitive by not thinking of the needs of the household. He reacted and told me I was not tuned into his need for bananas. The classic marital argument ensued and spiraled downward very quickly. There we were facing off in the kitchen. Tears in my eyes, him exasperated and both ready to walk away and write the whole thing off. Just then, something amazing happened. My husband said, "This isn’t about bananas!" In that moment something profound took place. As if by grace, I stopped my train of thought. I took a deep breath. I became aware that I had two choices. I could hold my ground because I wanted to be right and prove myself the good wife. Or I could take an honest look inside myself. I could look to see what was really going on. Gazing into the eyes of the man I love, I realized what was driving me. It was the need to be right. I thought I had something to loose if I was wrong.
I created a whole story about what his buying bananas meant. Not only did I make several assumptions, but I took his actions personally as well. When I made assumptions I got locked into fear-based thoughts instead of seeking facts. When I took things personally I saw only my needs and lost touch with a bigger reality. This banana story, which now seems funny, taught me a powerful lesson. It showed me what happens when my actions are based on assumptions instead of facts. It showed me what happens when I take my partners actions personally and react to them. What assumptions are you making? What are you taking personally and carrying around as hurt feelings? Are there times in your relationship where you’d rather be right than risk finding out something about yourself - something you’d rather not admit? Can you imagine the intimacy that becomes possible when you realize you have nothing to loose? Here are five powerful tips for improving communication and intimacy in relationships. The first two are based on Don Miguel Ruiz book The Four Agreements: 1. Don’t make assumptions. Ask questions instead. Experiment with expressing what you really want. Communicate clearly to avoid misunderstanding. 2. Don’t take things personally. What others say or do is about them not you. We tend to project our own reality onto others. When we stop taking things personally we end our suffering. 3. Be willing to have nothing to loose. If we embrace love and truth - instead of fear - all we can really loose is our limiting beliefs that keep us stuck and separate from our ourselves and others. 4. Open to mindfulness in the ordinary moments of your life. Enlightenment isn’t a destination. It can be as simple as how aware you are willing to be in the middle of an argument…even about bananas. 5. Remember, when you become aware you are feeling hurt or bad…you always have a choice. To be right or to be free. Want to know how the story ended? I released the need to be right. I chose freedom. I chose to see my husband as my partner in growth. We had a wonderful, open conversation about what truly matters to us. We left the kitchen together laughing and loving each other more than ever. For us, bananas will never just be bananas. It’s your life…imagine the possibilities!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
©2002Helaine Iris is a Certified Life Coach. She works with people who want more out of life. People who want to make personal, relationship or career changes, and lead successful, balanced lives filled with love, passion and purpose. Visit her at Path of Purpose Personal Coaching http://www.pathofpurpose.com or call her 603-357-8546 or email her firstname.lastname@example.org
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