Another typical weekend. Your partner is exhausted from being at work all week and you are going bat shit crazy from parenting. You’ve got your honey-do list and vision of what might feel super relaxing in the morning and super fun for the family in the evening. You're rolling at your own speed with your own vision and then BAM. Your partner says that totally insensitive thing. You pause for a moment and digest. Yup, he really did just yell at you.
The story could go on from here. On and on around the same merry go round of react, defend, fight, flight again and again ad infitum.
BUT, but, but, but, but, but………
M a a ayyyyy bbbb ee not this time……..
You pause. Take a huge breath, filling your lungs like they’ve never been filled before and exhale. Your mind stops swirling madly in every direction and you do one simple, tiny little act. In your head instead of the react, you mirror.
STEP ONE: Like looking in the mirror to see your own reflection you start to say in your head exactly what you hear your partner saying.
Partner: “You aren’t even listening to me. I’ve worked my ass off all week for this family and I just want to sit here and watch this damn show. The kid is calling for you anyway. You go play that game with her.”
You (silently in your own head): “You aren’t even listening to me. I’ve worked my ass off all week for this family and I just want to…….”
See, you’re not reacting, you are totally, wholeheartedly, 100% listening. You are so present you just said back every single thing he said.
Now, you take what you just heard and see if you heard it right. See if you can keep listening and not reacting for even a minute longer.
You: “Let me make sure I am hearing you correctly. Are you saying that you just want to sit here for a little while and not do anything right now? Are you saying you had a long week?”
Partner: Silence. Intrigue. Respect. Love is oozing everywhere. “Umm, yeah. That’s exactly what I said.”
You: “OK. I’ll play this game if you can take her outside in 30 minutes?”
Rejoice. You two just did the first part of the mirroring dance. The part where you stop reacting and blaming and judging long enough to actually hear each other and respond. It’s actually freakin huge. You feel better, your partner feels better and you spoke with kindness and got somewhere with it.
What do you think? Have any questions for me about mirroring in this way? Have you tried it or are you willing to try it this week? Let’s chat in the comments.