A while back I heard my wife checking the knives I’d just dried and stacked away. I felt my irritation at being ‘checked on’ build up, but before it turned into a rant, I managed to stop and ask myself the question why she did that.
Our first impulse is to put blame onto another in a situation, but here I was able to consider my part in it before letting instinct take over. What had I done (or not done) to make her want to check my cutlery drying efforts in the first place?
Trust isn’t something we’re given: we it earn. If we meet someone for the first time, we don’t instantly trust them. We earn that quality as we get to know them. It was then that I realised that my past cutlery drying had been lacklustre at best, so I had earned that mistrust.
It’s not always possible to stop a knee-jerk reaction, especially if we’re tired, but if we do, and ask ourselves what we’ve done to earn the reaction we’re getting, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll probably find personal involvement of some sort.
Naturally, every situation is different and we all have different levels of perfection (doesn’t make much difference to me much if our cutlery is watermarked) so conflict is understandable. But trying not to take offence when someone else’s benchmark has been reached, or not getting riled when someone else’s is lower, is the key.
Or to put it another way: respect each other’s barriers and allow them to have theirs whilst not taking it personally, I think is the key to a respectful and harmonious relationship. In truth, it’s usually our differences that attract us to someone in the first place!