Have you ever read the Einstein quote about how futile is it to try to solve a problem from the same level in which it was created? I believe his quote applies to ineffective communication. When we use language habits that reside in what I call the right/wrong
framework, it can create conflict in our relationships. When we try to solve those conflicts, we use the same right/wrong
framework, which doesn’t work and makes things worse. I realize this is all a bit philosophical, so let’s review a specific example of how we habitually respond out of the right/wrong framework. Have you ever caught yourself making judgments directed at your partner about an issue? Whatever it was that you wanted that you were not getting, I’m guessing your partner didn’t feel inspired to want to give it to you after hearing your judgments. After your partner didn’t give you what you wanted, you probably made even more right/wrong
judgments about your partner. This is is an example of operating out of the right/wrong framework which blocks the flow of compassion. Upon becoming aware of your judgments and critical comments, you might start judging yourself over judging your partner. Maybe you judge yourself as being a “judgmental” or “critical” person. You possibly do this to inspire yourself to change and communicate differently with your partner. Also not very inspiring, right? This too is trying to solve the problem at the same level in which is created. So how do we get around this? Well, according to Einstein we need to discover a new level
from which to solve this problem. (I bet you never imagined getting relationship advice from Einstein…yikes!)
The new level I support people to discover is the compassionate framework. It operates out of a different set of principles.
Instead of judging others and assessing the wrongness or rightness of something, you learn to share your own experience…what it is you were wanting and not getting
This compassionate framework operates off the principle that maintaining a compassionate connection between you and your partner, even when in conflict, leads to mutually satisfying solutions.
I remember when I first started bumbling around trying to speak using this compassionate framework. It was frustrating at first. It takes practice to get the hang of this framework and it can be pretty messy as you transition to a new framework.
Our judgments of others and ourselves are deeply ingrained. Like fish in water, we swim in a sea of judgments never knowing there is compassionate land out beyond this sea. As I’m coaching couples to experience this compassionate terrain, I often see them slip back into the old right/wrong level and not even know it, that’s part of the learning curve. Having a competent coach to gently guide you along the way accelerates your learning and prevents you from wasting time practicing in ineffective ways. Adopting this new compassionate framework will get you off the hamster wheel, keep you from shooting yourself in the foot, and liberate you from the futility of trying to solve a problem from the same level in which it was created. Learn more about the 8-Week Compassionate Communication Course.