I recently met with a client who has long held a belief system about how others should behave in particular circumstances. As I listened to her confront her own assumptions, I was struck by the courage and humility it takes to really challenge a belief or a “should.”

So many of our ideas about how life is and “should” be are governed not by facts, but by assumptions, stories, and beliefs. Yet, to challenge these ideas, beliefs, stories and shoulds, we must evoke an inner courage and the willingness to be “wrong.” Can you see how the willingness to confront such ideas is infused with courage and humility?

We all, each and everyone of us, have ideas about how things “should” be. The biggest clue that these ideas are playing out in your life is in the friction you feel between yourself and others. If you dive into examining this “friction,” you’ll find the should, the belief, the idea or the story you are telling yourself that is at the base of that friction.

Instead of insisting that your viewpoint is the correct viewpoint. You could engage in a little self-examination, once you see that belief, should, story or idea, you could examine it against the facts. With humility, you could ask the other person questions aimed at deeply and fully understanding their point of view.

Or you could peek beneath your ideas of how you think things should be and uncover a request – a request that you would like to make of someone. Keep in mind that a request is just that, a request. It’s the beginning of the conversation, not the end. A command, on the other hand, inhibits honest conversation, it ends the opportunity for deepened trust. While a request, made in a safe atmosphere, encourages intimacy. Requests cultivate respect and honesty.

Consider where you might be feeling friction in your life. If you look a little deeper, can you see the idea, should, belief or story that’s contributing to the friction? Is there a request hiding beneath the friction? Are there questions you could ask the other person to more deeply and genuinely inform you of their point of view?

Author's Bio: 

Melanie McGhee, L.C.S.W. is an award-winning author, relationship expert, psychotherapist and personal coach. For more than 25 years, she has been helping people cultivate rich relationships with themselves, others and Life. A long-time yoga practitioner and meditator, Melanie sees relationship as one of Life’s perfect practice spaces for experiencing yoga, union with the Divine in yourself, others and Life. She generously shares tools and practices that can take your relationships to the next level. www.peacefruit.com