What happens when you have an epic day planned with your partner, and instead of things going as planned, your partner is in a bad mood or feeling stuck with some uncomfortable stuff?
What do you do?
Do you take a deep breath while surrendering your romanticized picture of the day, and offer them your compassionate attention? Or do you pull out every trick in the book to fix their mood (which may include making them wrong for their experience)?
Welcome to beauty and challenge of relationship: Things don’t always go as planned and we can either surrender or fight it. In addition, no matter how many tools we may have, our partner’s mood can often influence and affect our mood.
While on the coast of Italy, Justin and I had an incredible day planned in Cinque Terre. We were going to hike through 5 picturesque villages. I was looking forward to this hike for months.
As the hike began, Justin started moving through some uncomfortable stuff. At first I was supportive – asking him questions, listening with compassion, and offering him my presence. But after an hour I could feel my Hero starting to engage. I wanted to fix him, so that he would no longer feel uncomfortable, and as a result I would no longer feel uncomfortable. I felt that I knew what he needed (more so than him) in order to get through this. I also felt irritated with him and wanted him to speed through this so we could get back to our romantic day in Cinque Terre.
Heroing our partner doesn’t work for several reasons. When we hero someone we are seeing them as less than Whole and viewing their experience (no matter how uncomfortable it may be) as less than perfect. Being a hero means we are seeing ourselves as the savior – more than whole and capable. Heroing doesn’t work because it robs our partner of a valuable learning/growing opportunity.
I know I have been in Hero when on the other side of it I feel a familiar backlash of irritation, exhaustion, resentment and grumpiness.
So the big question is this: Without going into Hero, how do we support our partner when they are moving through some challenges? Well, to be honest, we are still discovering how to do this. But what we are learning is that it starts with being willing to surrender our plan, vision, or idea for how it “should” go (the date, the hike, the romantic evening together). Not being a Hero means being willing to see that your partner is having the perfect experience. Just because something is hard and uncomfortable, does not mean it is necessarily bad or wrong. Often our greatest challenges are ripe growth opportunities. Not being a Hero means being hugely compassionate and empathetic without losing ourselves in our partner’s stuff. Sometimes that means taking a solo walk or spending some time apart. Other times it means that just our ability to listen is the most supportive thing we could do.
If you want to learn more about the Hero Archetype, we created a free 10 Video E-Course. You can sign up HERE to receive it. To check out more of our free videos or to submit a topic for us to explore on camera, go to http://www.dailyrelationship.com/
Thank you all for your love and support,
Juna & Justin