One of the quickest ways to de-escalate myself when I’m feeling frustrated with another person’s behavior is thinking,
“They probably have a good reason to be doing what they’re doing.”
Now, that’s not an excuse. And it certainly isn’t implying that we have the same definition of “good reason.” The point of that phrase is to remind myself that, while our goals may not align (and may actually directly conflict), I’m much more compassionate when I assume they have a good reason… just like I believe I have a good reason, myself.
Whether it’s your child refusing to go to camp, or your partner scheduling an appointment without consulting you to see if you had plans already, or your boss giving you a deadline that seems ridiculous- start by assuming they have a good reason. And then ask them what it is.
“Hey, I’m struggling with _______. It feels a little confusing for me. Can you help me understand your reasoning?”
Relationships are difficult. We think they exist in a bubble, but most skillsets needed for healthy, successful relationships are universal: whether we’re dealing in the parent-child relationship, our romantic partnership, friendships, workplace relationships, or family matters, the basics remain the same.
Reach out if you need support with handling a tough relationship issue or conflict.