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Not this again! Can’t you just drop it... (DW#428)

Today’s phrase is another variation of blaming the other person for issues in the relationship. 

"Not this again!" can be said in many ways:
"Oh no, here we go again" - eye roll and heavy sigh included –
"You never let anything drop, do you?"
"Why do you make such a big deal about things that are not important?"
etc. etc. etc.

 

The message in each version is similar:

 

"Something is wrong with you that you cannot drop this issue – you have no grounds to be upset. I don’t see it as a big deal, I don’t respect what you have to say and I’m not willing to listen, communicate with you or change in any way. This issue is not important to me even though it matters to you. The problem is clearly you and not me".

 

As you can imagine, this message is more likely to damage the relationship rather than make the issue go away. It is likely to add fuel to the fire as when we are upset, we want to be listened to and heard, not told that we...
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I’ll talk to you when you can be rational (DW#427)

As we have discussed before, conflict is normal and even healthy in relationships. It is how we deal with the conflict rather than the absence of conflict that determines if the relationship is fulfilling or not. 

Even though conflict is normal, it can be unpleasant. When we are in the midst of an argument, it can trigger all sorts of strong emotions that make it difficult for us to have productive conversations. 

When we find ourselves triggered, it can be very helpful to take some time for ourselves to calm down so that we can get back to the conversation in a more helpful way. 

The key, though, is to take responsibility for our own emotional state rather than suggest that the other person is "not being rational"

A statement such as "I’ll talk to you when you can be rational" is guaranteed to make matters worse. It is a statement that is likely to inflict emotional injury and make the other person significantly angrier. 

So the...
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Fine whatever (DW#426)

Have you ever felt completely exasperated in your efforts to reach someone? To get them to understand your point of view? 

Ever felt so exasperated that you say: "fine, whatever" as a signal that you are giving up on this argument? As a signal that you are metaphorically throwing up your arms in resignation? 

While it is not realistic to agree on everything or even understand where the other person is coming from, it is important to keep talking about issues that mean something to you (or them). In the absence of continuing communication on important matters, misunderstanding and resentment is likely to grow in the relationship in the place of love and connection. 

In other words, if we say "fine, whatever" enough times we will find ourselves quitting on the whole relationship rather than just the argument at hand.

 

So the next time we feel defeated in an effort to be understood, let us be brave and remind ourselves that if the relationship is important to us, we...
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With all due respect (DW#425)

Almost always coupled with an insult or unsolicited advice, the phrase "with all due respect" is often used as way to say: "Prepare to be disrespected." "I’m going to say something now that will most likely offend you but since I have said "with all due respect" you cannot really complain".

Many people find this phrase so annoying that it regularly shows up on the lists of most disliked phrases.

So the next time you are going to disagree with someone or present your opinion which might be controversial or unpopular, start by acknowledging what others are saying and make sure you understand the various aspects of the discussion. You can then state your opinion in a respectful way without using the phrase "with all due respect".

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I’m sorry, but… (DW#424)

Today’s phrase is closely related to yesterdays one which was "You made me do it".

I’m sorry but . . .in this phrase we appear to be taking responsibility and saying sorry. However, the "but" in the apology negates everything that comes before it. The end purpose of such an apology is to effectively promote ourselves as the good guys and to blame someone else as the real responsible party.

Consider these examples:

I’m sorry Mummy yelled, but your behavior was so bad I had to do something to get your attention…

I’m sorry I laughed at you but you were looking kind of ridiculous . . 

I’m sorry I flirted with your best friend but you were ignoring me . .

I’m sorry but aren’t you being a bit too sensitive . . .

I’m sorry I forgot but you should have reminded me . . .

I’m sorry but can you see how the above are not apologies! 
A true apology does not contain the word "but". It is an unconditional apology which does not...

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You made me do it (DW#423)

objective productivity Jun 27, 2018

As human beings we mess up and make mistakes. Quite often. We sometimes behave badly with those who matter most to us. 

And when we are confronted about our poor behavior or judgment by a loved one, it feels uncomfortable and it is anxiety provoking. It can be tempting to deny our role in making someone upset by denying responsibility, or worse by blaming them for our own behavior. 

For those of us who are parents, our children can sometimes really push our buttons. We may lose it from time to time and get ashamed by our behavior. At this point, we say things like "You made mom/dad mad". "Look what you made me do". We may believe that we are hiding the fact that we fell short of our own values and we feel ashamed. But lets not kid ourselves. Our children can pick up on the fact that we are shirking responsibility. And the lesson they learn from this is NOT the one we want them to learn!

Similarly, in adult relationships which are abusive or severely distressed, there can...

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You always/you never (DW#422)

When we are in the midst of conflict, it seems that the other person is consistently annoying – they are always late – they never keep their word – they are always grumpy – they never pick up after themselves – they never listen to us – they always have the last say etc etc etc. 

By sharing the ways that they always or never do certain things, we are trying to build a solid case of how we are being let down. 

The problem with using generalizations like always and never is that they are seldom accurate. People are just not that consistent. There will always be times when they are not what we are accusing them of. 

Moreover, the minute they hear always or never in an accusatory tone, their mind becomes super busy trying to find exceptions to our case against them. Once they find even a single exception (and they generally do!), they will do their best to prove us wrong, our case is destroyed and we have lost the...

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Watch your words! (DW#421)

We all want to enjoy great relationships with the people that matter most and others whom we are in regular contact with. Our spouses and our children, our friends and community members, siblings and parents. People at work and in the neighborhood.

Sometimes, though, despite our best intentions, we say things that drive these same people way from us.

For the next few days, let’s explore some phrases and things that we say that can be annoying, that shut down communication, damage intimacy and distance our loved ones.

Today’s phrase is wildly popular on social media and via instant messaging: "just sayin’".

 

Here is how the Urban dictionary defines it:
  • a term coined to be used at the end of something insulting or offensive to take the heat off you when you say it.
  • The punctuation people put at the end of an unsolicited, fact-less assertion to indicate self-satisfaction at having stated something they erroneously believe...
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Continue reaching out to loved ones (DW#420)

5. Maintaining Family Relationships
The month of Ramadan finds many of us trying to reach out to family, by an invitation for iftar or sending food and gifts. As the nights of Qadr approach, we are reminded about making amends with those members of our family whom we have issues with.

Through prayer and supplication, our hearts become soft, through closeness to Him, we begin to recognize the big picture and may be more amenable to forgive and overlook the small grievances that we may have been holding.

While reflecting on the Quran, we are reminded to pardon people, to manage our anger, to repel evil with good and to maintain relationships with our blood relations. We begin to recognize, once again, that He is happy with us if are human connections are in order. We are reminded that the path to Him begins with loving His creation.

Baby steps:
Regularly reach out to long forgotten family members through a phone call, email or text.

Consider inviting family to share meals with you, even if...

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Continue calling on Him through Dua (DW#419)

4. Dua
One of the most special things about Ramadan are the moments of connection to Him through Dua or supplication. The process of turning to Him and asking from Him enriches us beyond measure and gives us spiritual strength.

Whereas sharia applies to our outward actions and its job is to regulate human action in order to create the basis of social justice, Dua is the training the heart to love the Creator, to experience His love and to understand that the more you love Him, and have a personal relationship with Him, the more you understand that the laws of sharia are to help you reach your full potential.


The Duas that we have been reciting during this month all emphasize the personal quality of Allah's relationship with us and His all-encompassing love. Dua is therefore a vital practice to cultivate spirituality and nurture our connection to Him.

Baby steps:
Look through a compilation of Dua such as the Sahifa Sajjadiya or the Duas of Imam Ali (as). Pick one that calls to you.

Pick a...

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