I’ve talked before about dealing with that other person or persons in the home that just can’t seem to be organized. It is naturally a complex issue and I’ve written some on this already in “Help, My Partner is a Slob.” Since this isn’t simple enough to be covered in one sitting, here is another piece of the puzzle. Can you get to a place of curiosity? Really curious, not pretending so you can complain and dictate how things need to be?
If you’ve recently been frustrated with how “they” don’t actually put things away, this is not the time to do anything other than process the feelings. After some time has passed though, you might think about asking some questions as long as you are approaching it from sincere curiosity. Do they know why they don’t put those things away? Can you brainstorm together to see if there is a solution that would work for both of you?
I worked with a woman who was annoyed about how things did not get dealt with by others in the home. As we worked on an area, there was a place I mentioned we could leave empty, with the idea that she could observe what ended up there. Knowing what items were problematic would help start a talk about what the struggles were. Was it that the item had a “bad” home for that person? Was it just sloppiness, it was easy to drop it there, so it was thoughtless? Was it a reminder for them that they wanted to act soon? Her response was “nope,” and she piled some items up there so nothing could be put there at all.
If you can actually find a way to be curious about what is going on for that other person, you might discover that there is a simple solution that works for both of you. Or you might find some additional compassion for that person and be willing to step up and do certain things. It can be amazing what a difference understanding what happens for the other person can make in how you feel and react.
I’ve applauded the book, Crucial Conversations before, and they spend some talking about curiosity also. There are challenges and when we can be and stay curious, we might find out what is at the bottom of things. The key is that we need to be genuinely curious. Approaching things with that sincere curiosity, it lessens the possibility the other person will respond defensively, and therefore that understanding can be achieved!
This can apply for us as well. Do you ever stop to wonder why you do something in that particular way? If you avoid the place of blaming yourself, and approach even yourself with curiosity, you might find answers. Just like with dealing with others, if you are berating yourself, you’ll likely struggle to find why those challenges exist.
As I stated above, dealing with others, whether they are our spouses or our children (or even our parents!), is a complex issue. I’ll probably be writing more about this again! In the meantime, if you can find genuine curiosity for why the other person is that way, you might be able to start a dialogue and make some discoveries that can lead to less frustration. It can be extremely challenging to find that curiosity – especially if it’s been building for years – yet if you can, you’ll be open to hearing about them, and that can lead to solutions and that is always a good thing!