Say you’re sorry, even if you’re not sure you mean it. If you put the real work behind it, you may find you do mean it, after all.
What’s Your Motivation?
In my wife’s acting class, every scene is one of only two possible types: a love scene or a power scene. This is great for narrowing down how a scene is to be played because it really helps clarify a character’s motivation.
It’s also a great tool to use for classifying your real life relationships.
Any relationship you have in your life is going to be primarily either a love relationship or a power relationship.
Those you have with your friends, your family, and your spouse are mostly going to be love relationships. You love these people, so the motivation you have behind your interactions with them is going to be based on that love. Are they happy? Are they fulfilled? Are you contributing to those things? Are you making their lives better by doing the things you do in relation to them?
The relationships you have with an employee or a business partner are more often than not going to be characterized by power. Your motivation is based upon success, making money, not getting fired, and generally just pleasing your boss. So your interactions are going to be based more on control of your circumstances and solidification of your role within that dynamic.
That’s not to say that either of these examples are the only ones, nor that they are necessarily mutually exclusive.
However, if you’re having a disagreement with a loved one, have you considered that part of the reason might be because one (or both) of you has been trying to change this from a love relationship into one of power (even if temporarily)? Though it might not have started out that way, have you noticed how your rift has taken on some of those power dynamics?
By identifying the kind of relationship you have with any given person (specifically by using this technique) you can better understand the rules of that relationship. The better you understand the rules, the easier it will be to know how to behave as a result.
Dr. Phil has a saying: “Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?” This is a simplified way of looking at the above technique. If your relationship is about power, then – between the two – being right is more important.
But if it’s one of love, then being happy should win the day. In that instance, being right isn’t so important – mending the relationship is. Again, it’s not about moving on, or moving past, it’s about moving forward.
Say you’re sorry, even if you’re not sure you mean it. Put the real work into what that actually means, regardless of your initial intent.
If you do that, you’ll find that maybe you really do mean it, after all.
Swallow Your Pride
Saying you’re sorry doesn’t necessarily require you to say you are wrong.
If nothing else, the act of saying you’re sorry is a means by which to apologize for the contribution you’ve made to the issue, and an offer to resolve it.
If you are wrong, (happens to me all the time), swallow your pride and own up to it.
When have you found yourself continuing an argument or digging in your heels because you believed the most important thing was acknowledgement that you were right? What did that do to your relationship? How might you do things differently? Think of a specific scenario where this happened, and share it below!
Portions of this article were published in Operation Joy: 30 Daily Missions To Inspire Joy In Yourself & Others.