Exercise #1: White Flag
In love sometimes we have to surrender. We have to surrender so we can stop the fight and get back to connection. Resolving the problem sometimes takes priority over how we solve the problem, and when that happens that process of prioritizing the problem solving over the process of problem solving creates it’s own problem. Wow – did I really say that?
In other words, HOW we solve the problem – in the long run – is the most important thing. And relationships are all about the long run. Connection is made to last.
The White Flag exercise is a 20 – 30 minute exercise. It is a way to stop the worry, the hurt, the disconnection, the battle and get back to neutral ground. This exercise will take less time than how long you would take staying in the worry. And it has a better outcome.
- Notice you’re here, working on this exercise and that means you are aware of wanting things to get better between you. It’s valuable that you care so much about your relationship.
- Now begin recall memories of feeling cared for and connected in this relationship. Focus on your longing to have more of those moments of connection. Noticing the wanting is likely to bring up feelings of sadness and loneliness. These are the feelings that are underneath the tension and upset in your relationship.
- Breathe into the sadness and aloneness you feel inside. It’s softer. It’s quieter. It can be hard to let yourself feel this sad place even though it’s familiar. It’s a place you don’t like and fight to stay away from. The alone and wanting connection feeling is soft and difficult to stay with. Just notice that sad and lonely is soft, and the wanting comfort is even softer.
- As you feel the sad and lonely place, notice how your thoughts continue to turn back to your partner and the moment of hurt – what he or she did. Isn’t that interesting? That moment of disconnection, misunderstanding, disappointment comes up as you get in touch with the sad and lonely place inside of you.
- Now, notice what you feel as you think about what your partner did. Can you feel that change to feeling more hard? Hard and perhaps afraid your partner will never “get” you or be there in the way you need. Hard and replaying the hurt and trying to figure out a way to get through to your partner. Hard and thoughts spinning fast. Ideas of how to fix it, ideas of what you want your partner to do to stop your hurt. See if you can feel the change inside. There is a shift that happens very quickly. Soft: sad and wanting. Hard: focused on the hurt, on the other in a negative way. (If you can do this congratulate yourself!! You are becoming an expert about your emotion, and this will help you so much in your relationship.)
- Now get back to your soft place. Listen to your soft place. Spend a few moments getting in touch with the soft and wanting place. It is a more sure guide to connection. (When we approach each other from a hard place, it does not invite connection.) From this place you will get images of being together, being held, having comfort. Moments when you felt seen, important and comforted.
- Write out 5 of the images, those sweet moments, you have of being understood, seen, important or comforted by your partner.
- Notice those moments are moments you created together. It is the being together that really matters. You were soft and your partner was with you.
- Now the white flag. Approaching your partner with your soft place and staying in the soft place is your white flag. Go softly towards your partner. So softly. (White flags have flag poles and poles can be mistaken for weapons if they are moved around quickly or pointed in the wrong direction.)