In the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey points out, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." This is actually one of the seven habits because it IS so effective in relationships...it's what God asks me to do, esteem others more than myself...creating a safe environment for them so they can be at ease with me, keeping their heart open towards me. And the first step towards doing that is to take responsibility for my own actions, emotions, and responses.***
Breaking the Fear Dance--"ME"
What can I do to break the dance? Personal Responsibility
How can you say to your brother,
"Let me take the speck out of your eye,"
when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?
You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye,
then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
What to do when your Fear Buttons get pushed:
1. Create space-either internally or physically
---this is not the same as withdrawing, merely allows for the following steps
---Identify what you can control, surrender what you can't (i.e. the other person's reaction), and make a statement that you need space but you will be back
---create a phrase or cue that you both use to let each other know you need some space
---make a commitment to avoid discussions unless both of you can honestly say that your hearts are open
2. Identify your buttons
---what fears are being triggered by the discussion?
3. Take your emotions to the Lord
---the goal is to get your heart to open...it's impossible to pray/sing, etc. when your heart is closed
---pray that God will reveal the truth, ask what to do with the emotions
4. Manage your emotions
---think about what a healthy response would look like, take a few deep breaths, stand up
and stretch, listen to music, take a walk, talk to a friend, etc.
The Ultimate Goal:
Deal with YOU first (DeHulk-don't you love that word??!!), get your heart open and full of God's love, so you can then respond to the other person.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,
because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
I John 4:18
***Just a note here...these principles are meant to be used within the "normal" bounds of relationships. If the relationship is abusive and you are in physical danger, then boundaries need to be put into place to remove yourself from danger and put you in a safe place away from that situation.