Relationships | Mindfulness | Allowance
Allowance is the Lube for Change
How can you bring more allowance to your relationships?
Do you approach your partner with acceptance for what you can’t change in them? Or do you control, manipulate, and dishonor them, trying to shame them into behaving the way you think they should?
Allowance is letting other people be, do and choose whatever they want to be do and choose, whether you like it or not.
It has nothing to do with you.
I can hear the Yabuts.
Yabut, what if they are choosing a behavior I don’t like? What if they are doing something I know is not good for them? What if they are being a real ass-hat?
Here’s the thing. You aren’t in charge of your partner. Can you really know what is good or bad for another person? And who made you the boss of them anyhow?
Being in allowance doesn’t mean letting them walk all over you.
It doesn’t mean you have no choice. In fact, you have your Superpower of Choice.
The first step into allowance is curiosity. Be curious about the situation. Wonder why the person is choosing this. Don’t seek a conclusion or be right or wrong about it, just ask yourself; “I wonder what this wants to be?” What you discover may surprise you.
Last year, my brother in law’s partner decided they no longer wanted to be married. She told him it had been coming for a long time. He was blindsided.
The other members of the family were vilifying her, blaming her for breaking up their marriage. It was turning into a series of uncomfortable conversations.
It seemed like she had manipulated him. There were lots of reasons to think she was the villain in the situation. She had never indicated there was a problem before. She renovated the entire house just before she broke up with him, and he was the one footing the bill. People were taking sides and it was affecting the whole family.
Then I remembered something my grandmother had told me.
You can’t really know what is going on in someone else’s relationship.
Unless you are ‘in’ the relationship, you can’t know how they behave toward one another. You don’t know if there is yelling or blaming or if someone is controlling. Unless there are signs of physical abuse, it’s hard to determine what is really going on.
I decided to step into allowance and be neutral about their breakup. When someone tried to engage me in a ‘he said, she said’ conversation, I simply repeated my grandmother’s advice. ‘You can’t really know what’s going on.”
It was a needed shift in perspective that the entire family needed to hear.
Often, the thing you judge about someone else may reveal something about you.
If you notice you’re judging something or wanting to control it, you’re not in allowance. If you feel the need to be right or to label something as wrong, you are not in allowance. If you want to turn it into acceptance or tolerance, that’s also not ‘allowance’.
Allowance can be powerful in other ways too.
If you allow someone to behave badly, you can observe a lot about how they are operating in a relationship. If you can be there and witness them without judgment, it is amazing what they reveal.
The person may pour out their fears, their love, their appreciation, and their emotion because you have made a space to do it. They become more aware.
They notice their behavior and they might decide to shift gears.
Allowance is a powerful tool for change.
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