Healthy Complaint #4 – Focus on The Present

Posted on 23rd August 2013 in Communication

Healthy-complaint-4In healthy complaint #3 of how to complain without hurting your partner, we talked about how to describe the problem from your own perspective and style. In this post, we’ll look at why you should focus on the present.

Many people like to dig out all the histories when they complain to their partners. It becomes a habit that every time it triggers their memory about past.

This is a harmful habit to your relationship. No matter what the issue is, just focus on the present, focus on the issue in your hand right now. Don’t start the conversation with what your partner did since you met. Every time you bring up the past, you pour the same junk into your partner again. How much old junk can you take if you’re the one being complained about? And it also make your complain sounds like “You always…”. Remember the three things you should never say to your partner?

If your partner forgets about a special day you can talk to him or her like this:

“I can’t believe you just forget about this again. The first year we’ve been together you forgot about my birthday, and the second year you forgot about…How come you never can remember it?”

This complaint is absolutely leading to a fire. It’s digging out all the bad memories from history. There is a saying I particularly like form the movie “Kung Fu Panda”. It’s “Yesterday is history,Tomorrow is mystery,and Today is a gift,that is why we call it present.”

If there were issues you already passed in the past, don’t bring it up again. Focus on present. In this case, you can also talk to your partner like this:

“Honey, I know you’re extremely busy and you work really hard,because you want to move up in your company. I just want to remind you it’s our anniversary today. I feel really bad when you said you can’t come home on time.”

I don’t know what you feel about these two complaints. The first one usually will cause your partner to move into a defensive model. It makes your partner feel like you’re attacking him or her. About the second one, if my wife talks to me like that, I would feel extremely sorry and I want to do everything I can to make it up. That’s the difference it can make.

Live in the present, even when you’re angry. Don’t let the past influence your present. How often do we carry around past hurts, holding onto resentments when the only person we are really hurting is ourselves?

I’ll end this post by sharing a very inspiring story and I hope you get the message. The story is called Tow Monks and A Woman

A senior monk and a junior monk were traveling together. At one point, they came to a river with a strong current. As the monks were preparing to cross the river, they saw a very young and beautiful woman also attempting to cross. The young woman asked if they could help her cross to the other side.

The two monks glanced at one another because they had taken vows not to touch a woman.

Then, without a word, the older monk picked up the woman, carried her across the river, placed her gently on the other side, and carried on his journey.

The younger monk couldn’t believe what had just happened. After rejoining his companion, he was speechless, and an hour passed without a word between them.

Two more hours passed, then three, finally the younger monk could contain himself any longer, and blurted out “As monks, we are not permitted a woman, how could you then carry that woman on your shoulders?”

The older monk looked at him and replied, “Oh, are you still carrying her? I put her down four hours ago.”

 

2 Comments »

  1. Harleena Singh August 25, 2013 at 3:12 pm - Reply

    Hi Anthony,

    I SO agree with you about letting go of the past and focusing on the present…because this IS what there is, nothing more and nothing less.

    I liked the story about the monk you shared too, and that clearly showed how we carry the burden of our past deeds on our shoulders, not just for a few minutes or hours, but sometimes for days and years altogether, and this breaks many a relationships too.

    If you can say things in a nice way that don’t hurt your partner, then why choose the other way that would only put your partner in a defensive state. But with some couple, it just doesn’t work out, especially when they are having a drift or argument going on. On the spur of the moment, they aren’t really able to control themselves, which is indeed sad. Nevertheless, each past deed or day should be kept aside, and each new day needs to be taken afresh, that’s the only way you can carry on with a relationship. However, if there are issues in a problem, you need to talk them over and find solutions, as soon as possible too.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend :)

    • Anthony Watson August 25, 2013 at 10:30 pm - Reply

      Hi Harleena,

      Thanks for stopping by. I agree with you that it doesn’t work for some couples when they are having a drift or argument going on. They need to understand one point. In a relationship, sometimes it’s not necessary to point out who is right and who is wrong. It only matters if you are focusing on solve the problems. Otherwise, it’s just like blaming each other. It’s not about how bad the problem is, it’s about how you solve it. I learned this lesson from my own experience, I use to argue for any issue which I think it’s my partner’s mistake, it usually ended up hurting both of us. Right now, my wife and I have been practicing talking about issues calmly, which is very helpful.

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