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Slow Isn't Everything

I often write about the merits of going slow.  Slowing down a dialogue often helps you to connect with what's most important to you or what's most important to the person with whom you are talking.

Walking slow and mindfully through a park may help you soak up sights, scents, and sounds at a subtle and satisfying level.

On the other hand, mindfulness doesn't necessarily mean slow.

Going slow is a strategy you can engage to meet a variety of needs.  When you get caught in thinking about going slow as "the way you are", "the best way", or something you "need", you have become attached to a strategy and have lost track of the needs alive in the moment.  Getting attached to particular strategies in this way often leads to stuck and repetitive arguments with your partner.

One way to prevent arguments is to create flexibility around how you meet needs.  You can start by identifying the needs that are met for you when you go slow (or any other strategy you might be attached to) and then notice what other ways those needs might be met.

Second, check in with what needs are most alive in the moment.  For example, if you find that you and your partner are arguing about going slow or fast through the grocery shopping, you can check in about needs before the trip.  If your partner wants to do it quickly, s/he might have needs for efficiency and secondarily for more play time with you afterwards.  You may want to go slow thinking this will be most efficient because you will be more likely to remember what's on your list.  Identifying the needs you are hoping to meet and the ways you think they will best be met opens up a platform for negotiating about what will work best for both of you.

I am guessing some of you might be thinking, "All this for a trip to the grocery store?!"  If you are, I would ask you to check in with how much time and energy it takes when you argue, get resentful, or just give up and go along.  Putting in extra time in connecting about needs alive with mundane stuff can create a whole new level flow and collaboration in your relationship.

Any repetitive argument in relationship is likely to involvement some attachment to particular strategies that are posing as something inflexible like "the way you are" or "the way things should be".  These kinds of thoughts or expressions can be a cue to check in with needs that are alive in the moment.        

Take some time now to sit with a repetitive argument in your relationship.  Is there some particular way of doing things or way of seeing things that you hear yourself repeating? 

Then, get out your needs list and identify the needs you hope this strategy would meet?  What other ways do you meet these needs already?  What new ways could you meet these needs in the particular context of your argument?

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