Disclaimer :-) Even though I am writing and sharing about this topic, I am still very much a student. That's a nice way of saying; I am human, have made lots of mistakes and have and will continue to be an ass at times in my relationships.... So here is some of what I've learned up until now!
Whether we encounter someone in an intimate relationship or have to work on a project with a co-worker or are planning something with a friend. What I am sharing will apply to any relationship.
So you and your partner agree that it's time to move in together and you are very excited about this next adventure. It feels like the right thing to do and a natural next step. On moving day the reality (opportunity for learning) hits you head on. The new shared space has only one closet and the closet is full. Your partner tells you to go ahead and put your stuff in the closet. Your inner critic immediately sees an opportunity to play and kicks it into high gear and immediately says things like.... "They didn't clear a space for my stuff" or "Where the hell is my stuff going to go" or "How is this going to work there is not enough closet space" or "Crap, I had a huge closet when I was by myself".... I think you get it. Something within us forgets about the bigger picture.
We are not here to change the world, the world is here to change us. ~ Shantideva
If we our focused on ourselves (My World) we may become focused on the thought that we are losing independence by not having our own closet. Or we may have a reaction to being told that we can have 1/3 of the closet space and we hold judgment towards our partner for this (Their World) When we look at the situation from a more global perspective (Our World) we can take into consideration everyone's needs and we remember the bigger picture of the relationship.
Our World is the space where the relationship exists. When we look at the situation from this place we consider our needs and the needs of our partner and balance these needs through the lens of the relationship. We may develop a curiosity for our partners needs and we seek understanding rather then reacting. Essentially, because the relationship is strong it can hold space for the tension that may come up from time to time. When each person is connected to the long term vision of the relationship they no longer react from a place of fear.
3 Ways To Shift From Me to We
Slow Down ~ As a society we are very action focused which can be a good thing. However, when it comes to relationships we neglect to connect and discuss the things that matter. To slow down, is to take the time to talk about some of the scenarios that might come up after moving in together. "I noticed that there is only one closet, what's that going to look like I have a lot of stuff?" The closet is actually a metaphor for all the things we don't consider when we commit to joining together in Our World. (I will be writing a future article on the topic of "Designing Our Relationship")
Be Curious ~ Start by telling your Inner Critic to calm the %#$# down. Curiosity works best when we are not angry or frustrated. Take some breaths and once you are calm bring some innocence and curiosity to the table. Curiosity can help bring the truth to the surface. You might find out that your partner was distracted and meant to tell you they would be right in to help you. Or that their plan was to clean out the closet and donate all their old clothes and didn't have a chance to do so yet. Being curious also puts the focus on our partner which brings awareness to Their World.
Look In The Mirror ~ Difficult to do and very powerful. When we look in the mirror we see our contribution to the situation, we see our short comings and areas for growth. Relationships are a wonderful place to learn about ourselves. In order to contribute to the relationship we must look at and know ourselves My World
“We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.” ~ Anaïs Nin