By Chandrama Anderson
E-mail Chandrama Anderson
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ... (More)
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background in high-tech is helpful in understanding local couples' dynamics and the pressures of living here. I am a wife, mom, sister, friend, author, and lifelong advocate for causes I believe in (such as marriage equality). My parents are both deceased. My son graduated culinary school and is heading toward a degree in Sociology. I enjoy reading, hiking, water fitness, movies, 49ers and Stanford football, Giants baseball, and riding a tandem bike with my husband. I love the beach and mountains; nature is my place of restoration. In my work with couples, and in this blog, I combine knowledge from many fields to bring you my best ideas, tips, tools and skills, plus book and movie reviews, and musings to help you be your genuine self, find your own voice, and have a happy and healthy relationship. Don't be surprised to hear about brain research and business skills, self-soothing techniques from all walks of life, suggestions and experiments, and anything that lights my passion for couples. (Author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Calif. Lic # MFC 45204.) (Hide)
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"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
- Maya Angelou
If we change "people" to "my spouse" this important quote will be grammatically incorrect -- and completely true. My spouse will never forget how I made him feel.
Getting Out of Blame, Being Right
This is why it is so crucial to get out of the blame game, the need to be right, or accurate, and get into the feelings that lie beneath those behaviors (e.g., hurt, fear, etc.).
I know many of you are not comfortable with feelings and would rather separate feelings and thinking. Yet the truth is there is emotion underneath nearly every conversation (reactions; what I think this means about me or us, etc.). Check out "Difficult Conversations," written by the Harvard Negotiation Team, as they address these issues so well.
We can't actually "make" anyone feel something, but we sure can behave in ways (e.g., empathy) that offers the best chance that you and your beloved will feel love, connection, and care.
Experiment . . . So people will never forget how you made them feel.
Try this for a week: Act, speak, and listen with the intention of connection and kindness. Leave everything else aside (just notice any other inclinations). At the end of the week, notice how you feel. How does your partner feel?
If you don't know how to do this, you are not alone. You can learn, though. You get to choose. You get to feel something about yourself, too. What'll it be?