My Relationship Journal: December
Lesson: Don’t Defend Yourself
Book Notes and Quotes:
- “Defense is the first act of war.” It’s not the first mean comment or hurtful behavior. That’s just something that happened. War involves a response. (—Your Inner Awakening)
- “Who started the war? I did. She just told the truth. And I start to punish her for being more enlightened than I am. If there is a war in my life, I started it. There’s no exception. If the war ends in my life, I end it. I end it, or it doesn’t end. No exception.” (—Who Would You Be Without Your Story? Dialogues with Byron Katie)
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, Eckhart Tolle:
- “Nonresistance, nonjudgment, and nonattachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.”
The Wisdom of the Desert, Father Thomas Merton:
- “And if anyone speak to you about any matter do not argue with him. But if he speaks rightly, say: Yes. If he speaks wrongly say to him: You know what you are saying. But do not argue with him about the things he has said. Thus your mind will be at peace.”
My Relationship Resolutions:
- When confronted, I won’t immediately jump to my own defense. Instead, I will say either “interesting thought” or “okay.” After listening fully, I might say “I don’t agree,” or “I agree.” Usually, no elaboration will be required.
- When I do find it necessary to explain my actions and behaviors, I will wait till a time when the other person is willing to listen. Before doing so, I will ask and receive their permission. No exceptions.
- When someone uses an annoyed or angry tone of voice when speaking to me, rather than defend myself, I will ask him if he is feeling okay.
- If someone is hurtful, I will politely ask him to apologize. Doing so doesn’t count as defensiveness, just self-respect.
- I will give people–even my partner–the freedom to dislike me at times, and to disagree with me often.
For the Fridge:
- “I promise to listen first.”
- “I promise to ask permission before telling my side of the story.”
Read the rest of the series at Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Novel.