Relationships can be tricky. Whether it’s a work relationship, a romantic relationship, a friendship, or family, they can all be fraught with ups and downs. At their best they are sustenance for our souls, bringing joy, love, and possibility into our daily existence. At their worst they can be wholly debilitating and create opportunities for pain, doubt, and fear. And yet, living without relationships is virtually impossible, unless you are a hermit or recluse.
So, how do we manage the ups and downs of the relationships in our lives with grace and ease, optimizing them for success and possibility?
By minding the gap.
I admit I’m an Anglophile, so the mere fact that I can use this phrase in an InspireBytes™ blog makes me giddy, but it’s also very very true.
Why does the British rail system employ such a simple phrase for such a potentially devastating problem? In my opinion, it’s because it’s not about changing the gap, or changing the rail system, or changing the person waiting for the train – it’s about changing the awareness and interaction with the existing situation.
Mind the Gap.
This means that you are being asked to take note of the distance between the two items in relation to each other: the platform and the train. If you don’t raise your awareness to the gap, you could fall in and get seriously hurt (the worst of relationships), or you could successfully navigate the chasm and find yourself on your way to your destination (the best of relationships). It’s all up to you and your sense of awareness.
Now let’s apply this to our interpersonal relationships.
In every relationship there is always more than one truth. Each person has their own truth, and all are valid just like the platform and the train are both valid in their existence. Neither is “more right” or “more wrong” than the other. Both are valid. It’s the distance between them, or the gap, that creates the divide.
Therefore, the key to addressing conflict in relationships is to identify the distance between the truths, and focus on how best to bridge the gap.
Gaps in relationships, between two or more truths, are bridged by taking deliberate steps involving honest and open communication in a mutually respectful environment. Gaps are not bridged by trying to change the nature (thoughts, beliefs, actions) of the other party.
Action is necessary, but it all starts with recognizing there is a gap… and minding it.