I've always been a pretty sensitive person which can be challenging in a relationship. Add in four kids and all the hormones that come with them and well, I can find myself in a tizzy over something that shouldn't even bothering blinking my eyes at.
Now, I'm the first to admit that it's still hard for me to let things roll off my shoulders, but I'm getting a lot better. And while these suggestions aren't excuses for someone who really is saying crappy things to you and is mean-intentioned, they may help you pick your battles and hopefully improve your relationship.
1. What's the intention? I've learned over the years that many spouses shoot their mouths off because they're stressed or tired or a combination of both, and don't necessarily intend to hurt the other person. When you understand the place from where they're coming, it can certainly make it easier to pop on those invisible earmuffs and go on your merry way.
2. Who's it really about? I've found that so many of words that are exchanged between spouses and partners have little to do with the other person and a lot to do with their own issues, experiences, and feelings. Basically, it's not you, it's them. And while you might be contributing to the problem, when you think about what they're saying in that way, it can help you let it roll off.
3. When are they saying it? I have a rule that I do not take anything said to me in the heat of an argument personally, especially considering that I can find it challenging to use my words appropriately when I'm fighting. So I try to offer the other person that same courtesy. And sometimes when I have my period, I feel like I shoud hand out a "please excuse my mouth" card because, well, hormones are a bitch.
4. Is it worth getting upset over? The big litmus test for me is whether what was said or done is worth my time or energy. I've got very little to spare as it is, so I want to spend it on positive things. I cannot tell you how many times I just keep my mouth shut and walk away, and how much better things are even after just a few minutes.
Now what? So if you feel as though the comments came from mean intentions or they are worth getting your feelings hurt, then there's absolutely nothing wrong with saying something. But it's best to start with your own feelings, like "I felt [hurt, made, upset] when you said that to me." Be frank, be firm, and come at it from a place of offering insight rather than being accusatory.
And if they don't get the message or they're not honoring your feelings, then you might want to consider getting a third party involved to help.
How do you take things less personally in your relationship?
Image via Ally Owens Photography/Flickr