It’s important to send a clear signal to repair when you’ve had a fight.
Why? Well, if you learn to repair your relationship quickly you’ll be healthier, plain and simple, and so will you relationship.
Smiling is a easy, painless and fast way to get your relationship back on track so you can resolve what the distress was about in the first place.
If you don’t learn to repair your relationship quickly and you leave your relationship in distress it’s not only bad for your relationship; it’s not good for you.
Making repair right away will bring your physical, emotional, social and mental systems back to balance – a place that says –
“it’s going to be okay.” Balance is soothing and comforting.
When scientists research distress, especially relationship distress, they find it is a huge tax to our system.
When there’s a wall of distress or tension between us and our partner it makes all of life more difficult. Then tension makes it hard to sleep, messes up our appetite (tense tummy means eating more or having no appetite at all), makes it very hard to focus and we become generally irritable.
We can try to put it on the back burner, get our mind off of it, be busy and distracted, but the tension just runs in the back ground.
It’s been proven that we have a basic need to be in a safe space with our partner. It’s foundational. It makes all of the rest of life’s stressors more manageable.
The reason smiling works is because it’s an inside out and outside in technique. It works both to help you and your relationship get back to balanced. Smiling has an immediate effect. Creating the conscious movement of those particular muscles alerts your whole system that things are changing. It’s an opposite movement to the automatic way your energy and information flow during distress.
Smiling tells the body that things are actually going to be okay and starts slowing the release of stress hormones. This slowing starts to give you mental and emotional space to find other reasons (information) that support the new stance that the fight/danger is over.
The smile starts to send that information outwardly as well. It sends a different signal to your partner. A signal that says, ‘we’re not really at war, we may be in a skirmish but I’ve put away the nuclear weapons’ and ‘I still see you as someone I love.’
Here are the 5 steps to take to use a smile to make start the repair you both need.
1. Move the muscles. Smile. You’re not giving up by repairing, you’re getting! Get the action started.
2. Remember. Remember he’s a good guy and you love him. You love him for a reason, even though you’ve had a misunderstanding or he did something really stupid.
3. Look. Look at him – to see him. What’s he doing, really? If he’s walled up, sulky and distant it’s because he hurts too. If you didn’t matter to him this argument wouldn’t matter and there wouldn’t be tension between you. It’s probably opposite of how it looks on the surface.
4. Let him see your smile. This sends a clear message of peace. It’s the white flag of surrendering to your love. It lets him know you want him and you want the repair.
5. From this more calm and together place you can start the conversation and problem solving you needed in the first place.
Now that you know what to do to send a clear signal to repair, here’s what you need to do right now, even if you not be in distress this moment. You need to practice to make sure you know how take these steps when you really need to.
So try it right now.
First do a full, big smile. Lift the corners of your mouth, open your lips, and scan inside to feel the shift.
Then, let the big smile relax. The corners of your mouth start to come down, lips drop together and put more emphasis on what’s happening inwardly.
As you do that, feel the warmth in your chest,and notice how your shoulders start to drop. You may feel the urge to take a deep breath.
See, you just made the shift from the outward smile to the inner smile.
From here you can help those around you respond with more connection to you so you can problem solve together.
First we make repair and from a place of peace we can problem solve.
I hope you’ll give it a try, and tell me how it worked for you.
In love and service,