So many people mean well.
They want to be kind.
They want some things to be different.
Many people use affirmation and “but” in trying to make things different (/better).
They something like: “I really like you and our relationship, but I need you to stop/start doing X.”
That’s problematic in that it’s kind of back-handed, maybe even manipulative.
* * *
For a long time, I thought the solution to the “but” problem was “and.”
“I really like you and I need you to start/stop doing X.”
It’s better, maybe, but it’s not ideal.
It’s still co-mingling affirmation and, sorta, condemnation.
Is there a better way?
* * *
Let the period be a pause.
Create space between the two ideas – the affirmation and the request.
It still makes sense to affirm someone (the-relationship) before asking for them do something differently.
It’s a higher quality request because it separates the two with some distinction.
Here it is in practice:
“I really appreciate how you are with me in relation to Y.
[pause, inhale, exhale (let the period be what it’s meant to be)]
Would you be willing to stop/start doing X?”
[stop, wait, be open to what comes up for the other; really be willing to listen to them… ]
* * *
This sort of communication requires awareness, right intention and a foundation of love (for yourself, the other and the relationship).
It’s not something that will work in every situation.
It’s definitely not something that you try with everyone.
It is reserved, at least at first, and perhaps mostly, for certain relationships – relationships that are fundamentally healthy (and that are ripe for growth and evolution).