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How to rebuild crumbling relationships.


How to rebuild crumbling relationships.


A feud between two sisters erupted at a nearby table in the restaurant at which I was dining yesterday. The volume of their voices was only surpassed by the siren of emotion behind each one. The two had come to discuss mending an apparent schism born from a disagreement during their last joint vacation. Yet, the actual point of contention seemed almost trivial compared to the personal, deeply-rooted, and profoundly hurtful ammunition with which they quickly began verbally assaulting one another. It reminded me, immediately, how most emotionally-charged incidents are so rarely about the particular circumstance at hand, but rather, past, buried, often negative emotions that we have chosen to attach to a given situation in order to justify feeling them, exorcising them. 

What we tend not to realize is that when someone hurls their frustration and anger by lighting the fire of their fury and shooting it like an arrow to another person’s heart, they may feel the relief of discharging that fire, but they rarely realize that after the snap of their bow, they ignite the other person’s ire, only to fuel more of the rage that can scorch, injure and eventually burn their target to the ground. When we recklessly point our destructive wildfire of fury at those we love, the bridge of reconciliation can be painfully reduced to ash. 

In the case of the two sisters, they had both made the effort to meet. They had both come to the restaurant with the theoretical goal of healing their relationship. Which showed that they both had a sense of love and kinship for one another. And yet, instead of keeping their eye on the target of togetherness—a solid, familial relationship that felt good—they put one another in their cross-hairs, reacted to each of the other’s arrows of discontent, and opened season on repeatedly impaling one another. 

Like so many of us do, they let the fear of judgement, rejection, abandonment and disrespect cloud their intended focus on the core of mutual love they had for one another. They aimed from fear instead of love, and their target became the short-sited wounding of one other across the schism of their own stubbornness instead of building a bridge between.

Arrows sail by the propulsion of our intention. They can be either positively or negatively lit with the fire of our passion. So, when we arm our verbal bow—when we cock back the aim of our communication—it helps to have a very clear idea of what we WANT, not what we DON’T want in our sites. Wherever we point our incendiary arrow—whatever we decide, focus and declare about what we want—it will catch fire. It behooves us to aim past the person, and keep focus on the goal of our desire.

The sisters offered a beautiful, if not painful, reminder of the power of translation, the weight of our chosen words, the magnification of our emotional momentum. When it comes to communication, mind your bow. Mind the arrow you pull—it usually comes from one of two quivers:  Fear or love. Mind the aim of your desire. Mind the momentum behind your habit of thought. Mind the velocity of your intent. Practice the energy that feels good; that gives you the best, most accurate, most consistent technique. 

Love may seem like an obstructed target in the midst of a fire-fight, but it will spark the strongest, most collaborative and exponentially powerful bridge connecting disparate parties. May we all remember the love we are made of, the love we desire to feel and the love we are built to express.