(Image Courtesy of Acceleraction.com)
So often in relationships, whether at home or work, with family or friends or loved ones, the past can overly shape the present.
You had a disagreement with that person. Now every interaction is awkward.
You lost your cool. Now others walk on eggshells around you.
You used to be fascinated by someone’s uniqueness. Now these issues only seem to cause you frustration.
You overly questioned someone’s work. Now they feel that you don’t trust them.
While working with a small group, we noticed this pattern and discussed how it impacts their ability to work together. The more I reflected, the more I noticed this pattern in my own circles.
The past interactions do not disappear, they build on each other to form a strange and often distorted view of others. I read recently that our memories can deceive us. Our memories exist, but each time we access them again they can change and the newer version of the story replaces the old memory.
I thought about how this can impact our relationships. Perhaps this is why it is so hard not to feel like a little kid around your parents. Maybe this is why people in more close relationships are heard complaining about the other one (many times in front of that person). This may be why it is so hard to rebuild a relationship at work that has gone south.
Those memories keep building and changing in a way that reinforces the negative issues.
What we could use is the Relationship Reset Button. This handy device would be available to any two people or a small group where all parties decide to let go of those past hurts, judgements, or misunderstandings. With a simple press of the button, everything would reset. They would be able to start fresh, start new, and get another chance at their relationship.
Yesterday I worked with this small group again. They pushed the Relationship Reset Button. There was history. There was conflict. There was a past. It wasn’t easy, but they stared over.
They let go, and began to appreciate each other’s differences.
They started to anticipate what the others may need, and started to provide that instead of being frustrated by requests.
They started to see that together they could accomplish so much more.
Along the way, some of the past began to return, but they would get together and remind each other that they had started over. These occasional issues didn’t build a new history, but were seen as lingering shadows that would continue to diminish as their new relationships grew.
Where can you use the Relationship Reset Button? Where has the past overly shaped and distorted some of your best relationships? The new year is about to start, so why not go ahead and press it and see what this year brings?