Repair, Repair, Repair
Human beings are wired to connect and have a natural desire to be in positive relationships with others. But relationships are not always goodness and light. Whether at home or work, even the most trusting relationships go through breakdowns and difficult stretches.
I (Donna) was recently speaking with someone whom I coached over ten years ago. We have since become close friends and colleagues. In the recent conversation, she told me a story about when I was coaching her years ago, I said something that had hurt her feelings. That obviously piqued my interest, so I asked her to share the story.
She said she didn’t remember what I had said that evoked the hurt feelings. What she does remember is that after she sent an email to me about how she was feeling, I immediately called her. She said, “What I remember is that you picked up the phone and called me which was totally out of character since it wasn’t our appointed coaching time. I also don’t remember what you said or other details of our conversation. What I do remember is that you genuinely wanted to repair the hurt I was feeling.”
She went on. “What I’ve never forgotten is how you picked up the phone and wanted to repair the misunderstanding. I let go of the hurt and it didn’t stay with me because the relationship was repaired. From that lesson, I frequently say the best way to build lasting and trusting relationships is to ‘repair, repair, repair.’”
I also do not recall the details. However, I remember that I saw her as a Creator who mustered the courage to communicate her hurt feelings. With that, she became a Challenger to me, able to communicate that something I had said landed as a Persecutor.
If an argument or misunderstanding has risen, a genuine desire to repair the relationship is essential. Moving past the blame and need to be right is vital, and even more important is taking responsibility for your individual contribution to the situation.
Next time you are in a relationship breakdown, ask yourself these questions:
- What is my intention? Only you can decide if you are willing to rebuild the relationship. “Choose to repair” is a valuable motto to remember only if your intention is pure.
- Is your intent to repair genuine, or only in appearance to get what you want? This requires radical honesty on your part. If your motive for the repair is not based upon what is best for the relationship, then the attempt at repair will most likely be unsuccessful and can serve to perpetuate the drama and eventually cause distrust.
- What was my contribution to the breakdown? Take responsibility for your actions and your role in the disagreement. This gives space for the other to also step into their contribution to the breakdown.
- Is it time for a break? Relationships go through the same cycle of change as all things do. Is it time for a break, or more space in the relationship? If so, the repair may be within yourself. It may mean you need to forgive yourself or forgive the other person for what has happened or didn’t happen.
Relationship drama is a fact of life. Differences of opinion, disputes, anger, miscommunication, and more are part of relationships. The journey to reconciliation is smoother if the focus is less on who is right and instead, embrace the desire to repair, repair, repair.
By repairing, you can choose to refocus on the relationship as Co-Creators. With this repair practice, relationship breakdowns are an opportunity to heal and sow the seeds for an even longer-lasting relationship.