Although we live in a narcissistic society, it is surprising how little we really understand about ourselves, our behaviour and how it affects other people and our relationships. This is one simple life hack we have learned, ‘What we know about ourselves we can take to God and change, what we don’t know about ourselves will control us’. – Unknown. So are there things that we subconsciously do which send a negative message?
That behaviour most associated with teenagers, unfortunately, has a habit of creeping into adult life. It’s a sign that you are being dismissive of someone else’s opinions and feelings. It’s belittling and sarcastic, and it has been proven to be destructive to relationships. A recent study by researcher John Gottman shows that contemptuous behaviour such as eye-rolling is one of the primary indicators that a relationship is heading for the rocks. Habits might be hard to break, but they are not impossible! Whether you find yourself rolling your eyes at your siblings, co-workers or family members remember you aren’t a teenager! Stop it.
Donald Trump might think he can get away with it but who actually respects someone who has to resort to name-calling to make their point. Playground behaviour in an adult world is not funny; it’s destructive. The Bible tells us to encourage one another and build each other up. Name-calling tears down. We all know the rhyme ‘sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me’. How that lie has managed to be perpetuated we may never know, but it is important to recognise that it is a lie! Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Name calling kills relationships; that includes relationships with family and friends!
This was one that I had particular issues with. I always believed I was gifted with the art of sarcasm and was quite proud of my sense of humour. It wasn’t long into our marriage before I discovered that Roy hated it! It was belittling, humiliating and not ‘fun’ for him to feel the brunt of my acidic tongue. When I finally stopped justifying my behaviour and blaming Roy for his lack of humour I had to put a considerable amount of prayer into changing that pattern of behaviour. Sarcasm was certainly a poison which was killing our marriage but through God’s grace I was able to stop. I didn’t lose my sense of humour God just gave me a different way to express it which didn’t involve tearing people down. I just wish I had dealt with it before marriage.
The Gottman Institute conducted a lot of research into what made relationships fail and these three things featured. If you can eliminate them before you enter a relationship then you’re ahead of the game! If you want to #betherightone start working on it today!