There is this assumption that men, teenagers, parents, etc. know the right thing to do and are purposely being difficult.
Stop and pause on that.
Now think about this concept:
“What if no one is misbehaving?” You can ask yourself again, “what if no one is misbehaving?”
What if people always have a good reason for everything they do if we only just stopped to ask what it was, rather than always assuming they are doing something to hurt or disrespect us?
This way of thinking can lead to a lot less frustration and a lot more power.
Consider my friend Marnie. She invited her boyfriend over for lunch one day and she put a lot of effort into the details to make sure everything tasted great. He arrived a bit early and almost immediately turned his laptop on and began working from her dining room table. She was in the kitchen doing final preparations, getting increasingly upset because she felt totally disrespected. She burst out saying, “I invited you over for a nice lunch and you are just going to work on your computer the whole time!?” He looked up, kind of dazed, and said, “Oh……..honey, I wanted to get these emails out before we ate so we could have lunch without any interruptions.”
Upon reflection, she realized that her boyfriend was not misbehaving, his reason for going straight to his laptop was that he wanted to finish a project so that he could be fully present with Marnie during mealtime. She found this out by asking a question, rather than internalizing it and assuming he’s disrespecting her.
Consider that other people in your life are not mind-readers. It’s amazing how often we hope and think they are. Consider that people in your life are perfectly well-intended and are doing the best they can. If they are failing, it is only because they are not sure what is needed. In Marnie’s case, she wanted attention before and during lunch but her boyfriend had no idea she wanted this. A simple misunderstanding that was easily worked through.