Monday, September 5, 2011

Making Nice

This is still a new way of life for me, being considerate of other people's feelings, resisting the urge to criticize, putting peace ahead of the need to be right. I can see it working in some of my relationships. Friends and colleagues seem more at ease with me and I like the feeling of being in people's good books. But then there's the real D on the inside who wants to tear a strip off her partner and hurt his feelings to feel good. I worry that my niceness is just a cover-up and that the real me will explode with words that cannot be taken back.

Some would argue that it's just plain old honesty and that we should be strong enough to take the bad with the good. I'm not so sure. Criticism builds resentment which erodes relationships. Sure, in the heat of the moment, you give your partner room to 'let you have it' and you don't take it personally when they are frustrated. But some of it sticks and continues to hurt and also builds up over time.

Even though there's bile bubbling up inside me, the small victories give me hope that this could stick. Take today, we drove all the way out to Michael's to use a coupon on two frames. I bought the first one and returned to the car so that my partner could by the 2nd one (limit one per customer? pshaw! yes, I am THAT cheap - I am my Dad). Typically, he bought the wrong one (even after I showed him which one to buy) and I didn't realize this until we were home. I did make a big stink about it, so I can't say that I'm converted (my sister would've quietly returned it without a word). But what I didn't do was get personal (e.g. why does this always happen, I can't count on you, you are such a fuck up, etc.). K, that last one even I wouldn't say. When I pointed out the error, he laughed, acted all silly, made the kids laugh and I had a good chuckle too. Much better!

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