Diane Rawlings Meder (a very kind and talented business executive) died suddenly this summer. At the memorial service, I was struck by one of the solutions she and her husband employed when they got angry with one another. When one of them was on the verge of walking out of the room, the other would say, “I love you, and you can’t do anything about it.”
When we get flooded with emotions, our prefrontal cortexes become inaccessible for rational discussion. Our options are reduced to fight, flight, or freezing. Naturally these reactions don’t usually lead to very healthy outcomes when interacting with loved ones.
Try “I love you, and you can’t do anything about it,” or come up with your own trigger phrase that pulls you and your loved one(s) out of the current disagreement momentarily. Disagreements are much healthier and productive when emotions aren’t running high–and when you’re both conscious of the loving and longstanding nature of the relationship.
How can you lead with love in your personal relationships?