You'll be SO glad you learned this.
The good news? They can.
When you ask "How is that just like me?" you shift your focus from what is wrong with your partner, to yourself and the role you are playing.
This is good news, because you are the only person or thing over which you have control.
When you look at yourself, you are looking at the source of the problem, and NOW you have a real chance of transmuting your discomfort and discontent into deep fulfillment.
How this technique works:
Imagine you're in the middle of an argument with your partner, looking over there at him and thinking about how difficult he is being.
A few minutes earlier, you'd walked in the door and your partner noticed that your hands were empty. He asked you, “Why you didn’t pick up the razor blades I asked you to get?”
Surprised by his question, you think back to earlier in the day.
You remember talking about him needing new razor blades, but don't remember any agreement about who would get them.
You respond, "You didn’t ask me.”
Your blood starts to boil. You think that he is blaming you because he forgot to get the razors himself and say “you always blame me.”
You think he's always noticing what's wrong, what's not done and complaining about it and blaming other people – and the judgments keep rolling as you storm off in a huff, the victim of his blame.
This is where the fun starts. Or at least it can ... if you try this.
There is an opportunity to shift out of infuriating thoughts like "he is such a nag" or ”he never takes responsibility for his own mistakes" and into something more empowering.
But how do you do that when your blood is surging, your face is hot, your throat is constricted and your shoulders are all knotted?
You are in fight or flight mode now and your physiology has taken over.
You cannot think straight when you feel like you are going to explode or want to run and hide.
So just STOP…. Take 3 - 5 deep breaths ... and when you feel your heart rate go down, ask yourself this important question:
"How is that just like me?"
Asking that simple question shifts your attention inward. The familiar pattern of looking at him as the source of your discomfort is interrupted and a new game starts.
It's called "Find The Similarity".
Notice a judgment you have about him; for instance, “he always blames me.”
Then ask yourself, "How is that just like me? How am I blaming?"
You might notice that you are making his behavior responsible for the way you are feeling.
You might see the irony in the fact that you are mad at him for blaming you, while you are blaming him at the same time.
So if you drop the thought that “he always blames me” and accept that you are blaming him, you then get to explore what thoughts are actually fueling your discomfort.
You might notice that you were doubting yourself, “Maybe he did ask me and I didn’t hear him, I am not a good listener. I should pay more attention. I hate how distracted I get. I am so disorganized. …” It is those thoughts about yourself that are really causing the discomfort.
You were unconsciously blaming yourself, and overtly blaming him for it.
If you weren’t doubting and blaming yourself, you would simply see his assertions as inaccurate and could see that he triggered himself.
You ask again “How is that just like me?” You may see that he triggered himself just like you triggered yourself. Now you can relate to him from a place of compassion and understanding.
This is what it looks like when this game works:
The next interaction might sound more like this.
You: "I noticed that I felt really angry when you were telling me that I forgot the razor blades and how I could remember better. I started judging you as being bad for blaming me. It turns out that I was sad and angry because I was doubting and blaming myself. The truth is I remember talking about the razor blades but I don’t really remember a specific request being made. But if you did ask me, I can see why you would be angry that I didn’t do what you requested."
Your partner: "You know, I think you may be right that I didn’t ask. I just assumed. I just noticed you empty handed and immediately got angry and blamed you without thinking. I can see why you were mad. I would be mad if someone jumped on me and blamed me the second I walked in the door…."
With that, reconnection to one another can occur.
When you shift into seeing how you are doing the same thing, you invite acceptance and curiosity into the equation. You are no longer on opposite sides of an argument.
It is amazing to see how that problem you thought existed over there just evaporates into thin air. There was no problem over there. The problem was created by you and your own thoughts.
Curiosity is the antidote and curiosity is contagious.
Once you open yourself to curiosity, those around you often open themselves too. So next time you find yourself in a standoff, take a breath and ask “How is that just like me?"