Last night I did it. I uttered the words I hardly ever say anymore.
I said, “it’s fine,” to The Brit.”
And be sure, in the moment, I had decided that The Brit — with man with whom I am in relationship — had exhibited behavior that in my opinion wasn’t fine (please note that my opinion, at the time, had been made from a place of being sleep deprived, hungry and frustrated!) I was so tired, in fact, that I didn’t have any spunk left to create a “win-win” conversation. I couldn’t pull myself into “grown up” mode. Instead, I simply plummeted right into my one of my oldest default reactions — victim and conflict.
I could barely stand hearing the words as I said them. I hurriedly looked down, avoiding the Brit’s eyes, and grabbed my keys, heading over to watch American Idol with my kids at their dad’s home.
The good news is I decided not to stew about it. I put aside my woes, fully engaging in the victory of Idol favorites Le Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox. I sang with my kids, admired the moves of Justin Bieber declaring to my kids, “this kid is the new “Donny Osmond,” to which they responded, “Who?” We munched fat free popcorn on the couch. Danced. I felt good, happy, until I shut the door behind me, and began the five minute drive back to my home.
Sitting in the driver’s seat, waiting at the stop sign nearest my house, I realized I had landed smack dab in the middle of what I call a “choice point.” I could continue to stay in “it’s fine” mode, or pull myself out of it. Create a win-win. Have a positive conversation in which I acknowledge the Brit’s feelings, state my needs, and create a solution in which we both are feeling loved, respected and joyous.
Easier to say then do, even when you are a coach, and professional communicator.
Arriving home I saw the Brit outside the house, where he had just finished taking a walk. I got out of my car, waiting to see if the effects of my “it’s fine” had lingered in his pysche. As I rounded the hood of the car, making my way towards the sidewalk, The Brit held out his arms, inviting me in to feel unconditional love.
I wish I could tell you that at this point violins played, butterflies flitted in the night sky and angels sang. However, despite his loving embrace, the truth is I was still exhausted. In fact, my “it’s fine,” had now become somewhat stuck in my throat. I didn’t have the words to discuss my feelings, so I simply went upstairs to get in bed, visibly still disturbed. I didn’t speak much as we lay in bed, yet the Brit continued to love and support me, wrapping his arms around me quietly. He didn’t “make me talk,” in that moment, and, he didn’t pull away to punish me. He let me be, until I was ready to CHOOSE to take responsibility for the thoughts of my inner critic, self soothe, and somehow find sleep.
The good news is that upon awaking, fresh from the night’s sleep, I was able to discuss my “it’s fine” with The Brit. We did explore my needs. His needs. I realized I had made some interpretations of his behavior that were way off base. And in turn, he had made his too.
Yes, still. Still there is this place of learning. Even after years of work, research, study and growth. The truth is this, I am human. The Brit is human. As are YOU and the men you date.
What did I learn?
I learned that “it’s fine,” translates into “I can’t speak. I don’t have the words. I don’t have the energy.” It means, “I give up.”
What’s most exciting though, is this: I learned that I still get to give up, knowing it is only a temporary lapse. And then, using the skills and knowledge I have developed, I can dig deep, find a way to self sooth, get validation from within myself, and return to the situation grounded, using heart-felt words, being love and having compassion.
What will you do the next time you hear yourself saying, “It’s fine”?