Here are some of the ways we can close someone's spirit:
When a person's spirit is closing, an uncomfortable awareness exists -- a "yuckiness" that permeates the entire relationship.
A closed spirit can result in:
Opening a closed spirit
How can we break free from this killing cycle? Here are five keys:
1. Acknowledge that the other person is hurting, and admit when you have been offensive.
2. Be gentle. Demonstrate tenderheartedness.
3. Understand what the other person has gone through. Listen carefully. What has caused the anger?
4. Touch the other person gently on the hand or arm.
5. Ask for forgiveness.
Be persistent. The walls won't come down right away. It may take repeated sincere attempts to make a dent.
Start with a minor conflict. Ask the other person to rate the severity of the problem on a scale from 1 to 10. And work these five keys. Next take a more sensitive area and work through it.
Set your goal on opening that person's spirit with compassionate statements. "I want to stop offending you, and I know you don't want to continue like this." "I love you, and I'm committed to you." "Do you think I really understand how you're hurting?"
While these tools are designed for primary relationships, they can also work in other arenas (siblings and close friends, for example) with some tweaking.
Is it time to give up the struggle?
Linda Arnold, M.A., MBA, is a certified wellness instructor, counselor and chairwoman/CEO of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications firm with offices in West Virginia, Montana and Washington, D.C. Reader comments are welcome and may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301 or emailed to livelifefu...@arnoldagency.com.