Written by: Seada
As individuals, we assume ourselves to be free from major imperfections. This belief becomes deeply rooted in our mind, enabling the justification of poor choices. Imagine yourself in a heated disagreement with your significant other, saying, “I would not have said you’re dumb if you did not ask me the same question 5 times!” Perhaps this statement sounds all too familiar. This counterproductive response instills a tiny seed of doubt into our partners.
Harsh responses may lead to less engagement in conversation for fear of being rejected. It may be fair for the other to comment that, “Well, if you heard me the first time, I wouldn’t need to repeat myself.” This statement is a perfect example of the use of justification. But dwelling on rudeness creates irrational beliefs that can end relationships. What we’re stating here is that justifying all of our own actions, without trying to understand the mindset of others, can make you feel superior while stealing the respect and happiness from a relationship.
From childhood, our parents exhaustively reiterated the statement, “If you have nothing nice to say, do not say anything at all.” Primitive childhood teachings set the foundation for communication and respect. We do try our best to avoid hurting the people we love. However, this is not always possible.
Within the worst relational conflicts–in the differences between our opinions, expectations, and values–lies the greatest opportunities for growth and intimacy, if a relationship is safe enough for partners to communicate what is truly significant and important in their own positions.
When children get hurt, they run to their primary caregivers for help because the help is accessible and non-judgmental. Providing a safe space to any relationship is key for accepting and tolerating a variety of different viewpoints. As we strengthen the bond of security, understanding eventually emerges.