Kindness and Respect

By: Susan Blackburn, MA, May 01, 2014

I feel as if my opinion is often not respected by my partner, what should I do?

Being respectful and kind will go a long way.

To create a strong relationship you need to be courageous enough to have your own point of view and express it with kindness and respect. In all of your interactions, being yourself needs to be balanced with communicating the importance of your relationship. In every moment you are either bringing your relationship closer together or further apart.

Expressing yourself authentically while honoring your relationship includes speaking about what you need in a calm, rational voice. It’s your tone of voice and your intent that communicates how important your partner is to you. On the other hand, what you say should be genuine so that it reflects the honesty of the moment. You will assist your partner in hearing you when you focus on what you want instead of expressing judgment. This is an interdependent stance, the middle ground between independence which is too distant and dependence, which is too close for love to grow.

By expressing your true thoughts and feelings in an empowered way you focus on the changes you’d like. For example, instead of saying “I’m really angry at you because you’re always on my case about this,” you can say “I’m feeling pretty angry. I’d like us to get along.” Speaking this way allows your partner to listen to you instead of becoming defensive. You are simpl expressing yourself and your desire instead of making your partner wrong. This is the complete opposite of stifling your voice and walking on eggshells.

It’s likely that you have communicated important matters to your partner with kindness and respect and didn’t achieve positive results. You partner might have responded to you in anger or by withdrawing. A typical response would then be for you to eventually back down to end the fight or stop the silence. In maintaining your perspective balanced with kindness and respect, don’t allow your partner’s anger or silence (fight or flight response) to reinstate the status quo. Instead, remain calm and consistent in your message and disengage from any heated conversation. There are no victims; only volunteers. Don’t give your power away by giving in, as this doesn’t serve either one of you.

Over time, when you are consistent, anger or silence shifts into cooperation. This is because your partner’s need for connection is strong. Anger and silence (fear) is a negative form of connection. Although it may take some time, if you no longer engage it will naturally dissipate. All behavior is purposeful. By speaking in a way that communicates the importance of your relationship, your partner will eventually realize that the only available avenue for connection with you is through kindness and respect (love).

Susan Blackburn, M.A. is an Individual, Couples and Family Counsellor.

She is a member of the Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists (OACCPP) and has a Masters degree in Counselling from the Adler School in Chicago, a B.A. (Honours) from York University and a B.Sc. in Business from the University of Phoenix.

Credentials include being a published author and several guest appearances on television and radio as an expert therapist including That Channel’s ‘Extraordinary Women TV’, the W Network’s ‘Style by Jury’ and Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s (of ‘Til Debt Do Us Part) show, ‘Princess’.