The music started, and immediately and our moves began! Our left foot stomped as our left hand shot across our body with a determined stop sign, as we looked back over our shoulder and shouted “STOP!“ Just before we sang our first line, “In the name of love before you break my heart!”
My sister was a great choreographer, and fabulous coach for great harmonies. She and “The Supremes” were getting ready for a contest.
I wanted to watch and learn every move. Much to her dismay, my mother told her that she had to at least let me watch. Watch I did! I would go to my room later and play The Supremes records and practice my singing part, and practice every memorized move.
Much to her dismay, “The Supreme” on the end chickened out the night before the contest. It was too late to train anyone else, so she had to settle for her little sister. We won that contest, and went on to win others as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and Sister Sledge!
Perhaps because “Stop! In the Name of the Love!” was my first dance/sing routine I learned, I think of that song often. But perhaps never more so as things have unfolded in our country over the past couple of weeks.
When I first saw the footage of the tragedy of George Floyd’s last breaths, the words that popped up in my heart were “STOP! Stop! … In the name of love!“
There’s been much discussion in my community, but particularly in my practice this week. Hoping to speak up in a way that will make a difference, I decided to write this week how we MUST STOP! Stop … In the name of love! But in addition, also what we MUST start! All in the name of love!
- STOP DISRESPECTING! In the name of love!
What is disrespecting? Denying esteem for the sense of the worth or excellence of a person. We simply MUST STOP! There is no doubt that what we all witnessed on our screens over and over recently was a true and pure example of disrespect. Regardless of the races, ages, cultures or genders of those involved, none of us would disagree that it was ultimate disrespect!
Sad to say, although not ending in horrendous and unnecessary death, the representation was not terribly different from how many treat one another emotionally on a daily basis.
No matter what mistakes we make in our lives, no matter how wrong we may be, lowering ourselves to treating others with disrespect is totally unacceptable. Every human being has value and worth. It is incumbent upon us individually, in every relationship, to treat one another in a manner that demonstrates we find the worth and value in every person.
START RESPECTING! In the name of love!
It is time that we all begin to speak to one another and treat one another as if we have a sense of worth and value. Many people misunderstand and think we cannot address difficult things without being disrespectful. Totally untrue. We can speak respectfully about behaviors that are concerning, without stripping anyone of their value or worth.
2. STOP JUDGING! In the name of love!
Judging is basically when we assume people’s motives. And because we have taken on that godlike ability to assume that we can read motives, we judge people‘s actions unfairly. I teach my couples that respectfully discussing someone’s behavior can be done without assigning motive, and therefore, judging the other.
Interestingly enough, we often perceive our own motives as good, and harshly apply negative motives to the actions of others. Certainly unfair. Instead, we MUST learn to live from a place of grace.
START UNDERSTANDING! In the name of love!
Before assigning motives to the actions of others, seek to understand.
I helped a couple do that this week. Her daughter was coming home from college and she had promised to take her shopping to buy her some new jeans. She was certain her husband had her overheard that conversation because she and her daughter had spoken while she and her husband were in the car together.
She was leaving her appointment with me to pick up her daughter from the airport. On her way to the appointment, she noticed that he had moved most of the extra money out of the account for which she had a debit card.
She was furious by the time they arrived separately to the session. Harsh exchanges began.
I had them press pause, and walk through a respectful communication exercise, seeking to understand. As it turned out, he had received a call that morning from the bank on which she had her debit card. The card has been compromised, and they had canceled it.
He had moved the money to another account and had intended to inform her to use the other credit card. What could have been a horrible blowout from a misunderstanding became a priceless moment. We MUST learn to seek understanding before assigning motives.
3. STOP CRITICIZING! In the name of love!
We know from tons of research, and for me, years of personal experience with clients … criticism serves no purpose. It tears people and relationships down, and creates a sense of division.
Why on earth would we purposefully cause destruction to another human being or to any relationship? We are better than that! We MUST stop!
It is actually an intentional process of tearing someone down to give us a sense of relief. We MUST Stop! In the name of love.
START COMMUNICATING CONCERNS IN A HEALTHY WAY! In the name of love!
I teach my couples (and parents & children) this pattern, and when they learn it, all criticism disappears. There is always, always, always a significant improvement in the relationship.
“When you ___________ (identify the behavior), I feel _________ (name the feeling), would you be willing to ___________ (name an alternative positive behavior)?” Example, earlier today, when a fiancé was in my office and the love of his life was feeling lonely, I helped her move from criticizing to this model:
“When you don’t text me or reach out to me all day, I feel lonely and sad, would you be willing to shoot me a text in the morning, afternoon and bedtime when we are apart?”
As you can imagine, we got back on track immediately. He spontaneously took her hand and pulled her up into his arms, and said, “Yes. Yes. I’m so sorry you had to ask!”
4. STOP ALL VOICE RAISING AND INTENSITY WHEN COMMUNICATING! In the name of love!
I used to try to teach my clients this concept in very kind ways, which is more my style, but people rarely “got it.” So now, I just say it pretty straightforward. Stop it! It’s a power move. It does not help any situation, nor is it healthy for your relationship. It’s a way to take charge of the situation by using what is a “socially acceptable” power move.
Being “socially acceptable” does not mean it is a healthy way to communicate! We MUST stop!
START COMMUNICATING FROM A PLACE OF EMOTIONAL MASTERY! In the name of love!
If you are not in a place where you are more interested in reconnecting and bringing resolution than being “right“ … take a break until you are in a place of emotional mastery. Then come back to resume the conversation. We MUST focus on reconnecting and bringing resolution!
5. STOP GHOSTING! In the name of love!
I wrote an entire article about this not long ago. (You may click here to read it). I do not know what it is about that we have come to a place that we so easily “ghost” people. We deserve connection, even if there’s no “match” for a relationship, we deserve a kind good-bye.
A young girl said to me just this past week, “I don’t understand what it’s about that he could spend the night with me, and not even bother to reach out to me and say good night the next nights.” (I will save my lecture about how we give ourselves away in today’s world for another place and time).
But unfortunately relationships have become very “touch and go” or “take and run”.
People come together, spend time together, meet family and friends, say and do intimate things, and then just disappear. Sometimes for a few days, sometimes for a few weeks, sometimes forever. We are all better than that and we all deserve better than that.
START INVESTING IN RELATIONSHIPS! In the name of love!
I believe when people make investments in relationships, they return to connect. But when they “use,“ they feel free to roam the planet … and either never look back, or perhaps look back four or five days later.
What? What? It hurts. It’s demeaning and disrespectful. If you plan to “touch and go” or “take and run” … Give the respect of saying so upfront.
We MUST invest in relationships. Have moments of intimate connection daily. You can even accomplish that via text when necessary.
I hope we will all take this as an opportunity to STOP! In the name of love! And look at how we do relationships. Relationships with friends, relationships with colleagues, relationships with your spouses, relationships with your children, relationships with your adult children, relationships with your girlfriend, your boyfriend. We can all do better. STOP! In the name of love! Love well. Love often. Just love!