Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Knowing When to Say When

It is a common stereotype that men have applied to women…..women talk too much! If we would just allow them to have the TV remote, a beer, some good food and great sex every now and again, they would be happy! Of course, this is an oversimplification and different strokes are meant for different folks, but there may be some validity to the statement that as women, we talk too much…… or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that sometimes we just don’t know when to shut up.

We’ve all heard the term “nag” before and it never seems to describe the woman that we see ourselves to be. In our minds, we justify what we say, how we say it, and why we need to constantly repeat ourselves in our communications with the men in our lives. We honestly feel that if we don’t, they will somehow miss the point or may forget to follow through on what we ask of them. But, if we look deeply into why we feel the need to over-communicate on certain issues, we may find a deeply-rooted fear; a fear that we are powerless.

Often, when we feel a compulsion towards repetition, all in the name of “asserting” ourselves or making ourselves clear, what we are really trying to do is manage our own anxiety. If we repeat something enough times, if we can just get them to understand our point of view, if we make sure that they are aware that we ain’t playing and that we mean business, everything will be better. What we fail to see is that once we have worn out our welcome on a discussion topic, we often leave our men feeling deflated, uninspired and resentful. We dampen the brilliance of their creativity, constrict their desire to be generous, and trample on any hope of genuine spontaneity.

In our push to be understood, sometimes we fail to understand. When we force our point out of fear that we will not get OUR needs met, we stop meeting the needs of our partners. If we were to put the shoe on the other foot, how many of us would appreciate the behavior? If our men repeated themselves over and over, over-shared their feelings about our lack of understanding, and demeaned us like children for “stepping out of line”, how tolerant would we be towards them? More than likely, we would say something like, “Not me. Not today!” and remind them that we are fully grown and capable of responding without all of the “extra”.

From this point forward, let’s make an attempt to communicate from a place of love and not fear. We may be surprised at the outcome.

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