If you’re trapped in a space capsule for six months on a mission to Mars, you better be sure that you and your crewmates get along. And even more than that: there should be no drama. None. Zero. No sneers, no innuendo, no scorn, no hidden agendas. Lives depend on it and eight billion people are watching.
But even when nobody’s watching, and even when lives aren’t literally at stake with every decision, drama of that type is toxic, maybe permanently so.
Which is why Rachel and I can’t have even a hint of it in our rolling tiny house.
And we don’t, but only because we are very intentional about it.
Because, honestly, any two people confined for long will inevitably intrude into each other’s space, overlook each other’s efforts, totter and trample over each other’s plans. Can’t be helped.
But what can be helped is how you deal with it.
And yes, some of that “dealing with it” means initiating conflict (which I despise). But the alternative, to let anything go unresolved is much, much worse.
Here’s how this has boiled down for us in practice:
- Do more than “your share.”
- Rely on the other’s strengths to leverage your own.
- Be slow to criticize and quick to apologize.
- Assume best intent.
- Thank effusively and immediately. Like justice, appreciation delayed is appreciation denied.
- Forgive frailties.
- Be humble.
- Laugh at ourselves.
We are, all of us, these clumsy meat-sacks just trying to find our place in the world, stumbling between intent and circumstance, looking for sure footing in an unknown world. It’s hard. And it’s even harder not to hurt others with each blundering footfall.
So we have to try, really hard, to make up for it when we do. Because despite all our thoughtfulness we all fail to appreciate how the world looks from someone else’s eyes, and how they see themselves reflected in the way we show up.
And our job, with everyone around us but especially those we love, is to make sure that reflection is the purest, most joyful, most authentic version of themselves possible.
When someone looks at you and sees in themselves the better person you know them to be, when they know that your reflection of them, through love’s mirror, is more than they could be without you, then they’ll do anything to keep that precious mirror shining.
So be the mirror your loved one needs, as Rachel is for me, and shine on.