Yes, and… instead of but…

This is not a grammar lesson but it is a few thoughts on how we language our lives and how we interact with others. Before we get too far down the lane on this, I have a few things to state at the outset:
1. I have not perfected this.
2. I am doing my best even when it really doesn’t look like it
I had a conversation with a friend about owning our mistakes but not quite in the way that you think. Here’s sort of how the dialogue went. I was sharing how my husband and I the previous day had experienced a miscommunication. That is not a fancy way to say an argument because we weren’t arguing as much as we were misunderstanding each other. And the misunderstanding was getting worse because our feelings were hurt. I will presume that those of you reading this, who also have a pulse, have encountered something similar.
It’s actually rather comical that two people who used to make a living in the communications industry can have a tough time being succinct and clear … but we do.
Anyway, I said some things in a way I wished I hadn’t because my feelings were hurt. And vice versa. In my efforts lately to be a better communicator and more open, I decided that it’s never too late for a do-over in things like this. So I followed my husband into the other room and tried again.
And it was clumsy and awkward and fumbling. In fact, I believe I said, “I know I am not doing this very well. I am trying to do this differently and I don’t think I am doing it right.” But guess what, we stumbled around in this conversation and worked it out. It ended in a hug. And maybe a few tears from me but mostly because I am still learning to be better at navigating my emotions in a way that’s productive. Let me just tell you, if you have not been very good at expressing your more fragile side, it takes raw courage — at least on my part.
In most disagreements, misunderstandings or their higher-octave cousin (aka fights), we express ourselves with “I know I said ____________ but ______________” and we fill in our reasons why we are not at fault. At least this is the way I have previously communicated. And changing that habit takes some bravery because you stop excusing and you start, instead, sharing how you feel and fully admitting your errors in this interchange.
Without going into my personal details, which aren’t all that riveting anyway, it looks like “Yes I was harsh AND I am sorry.” Now the conversation did evolve into how I interpreted what was said and how he had as well but that comes later, after the apology. Letting the apology stand on its own without any other distractions for a moment. It’s uncomfortable. It’s tricky at times. However, what I am learning comes next is understanding and the forgiveness. It’s the grace that we are able to give to others when our hurts or their hurts are acknowledged and given some breathing room.
I am realizing that in relationships, especially marriage, it all comes down to this simple truth: I love you and I will still accidentally (sometimes a little on purpose) hurt you. And you will do the same because we are human beings. And that’s who we are. We do better as we are able. We strive to be better. And release the striving for perfection, it’s an unattainable expectation for us to have for ourselves or others. We can have healthy expectations, which includes pretty much knowing that nearly every day we’re going to have anything from an imperceptible hiccup to a full-on blow up. And then we start again with, Yes,…AND I am sorry.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G

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