We introduce the Comfort Circle on page 197 of our book How We Love. The longer I study, teach and use it, the more convinced I am that it is the universal antidote for all forms of relational pain and reactivity. Just like water (H2O) is regarded the universal antidote for internal and external poisoning of our bodies, the comfort circle dilutes and flushes the toxic relational residue that contaminates us all. The four main points of the Comfort Cycle are:
- Seek Awareness of feelings and underlying needs (Psalm 139:24-25).
- Engage with feelings and needs openly acknowledged (Ephesians 4:15, 25).
- Explore the speaker’s thoughts and feelings – listening, validating, and concluding with, “What do you need?” (James 1:19)
- Resolve needs verbally and with touch, seeking how and when needs may be met in the future (II Cor. 1:4).
Completing the circle should bring relief… an increase of trust and feelings of connectedness. For the next four weeks we will focus our attention on theresolve portion of the circle. Finding resolution that truly satisfies is the very thing we all long for. In How We Love we also discuss the concept that we have two tanks that need constant monitoring, they are our fuel tank and our pressure tank. If we can successfully connect with others by using the comfort circle, our souls are filled and replenished. When this occurs, we become bonded and love grows.
There are many different possibilities for creating successful resolution and each of them puts fuel in our tank or relieves pressure when it becomes excessive. With the key guiding question, “What do you need right now?” the following list provides some clear options that can be chosen to meet the need within the speaker’s soul.
- Ownership: “I need you to admit and own the problem, infraction or mistake.”
- Forgiveness: “I need a well thought, through forgiveness statement and an apology.”
- Little or nothing: “You know, I don’t think I need anything right now, I just feel better having gotten that off my chest.”
- Reassurance: “I need to hear from you that things will be OK, or that you will work on this or that you still really love me!”
- Agree to disagree: “While we still do not agree on this I do feel like we understand and accept one another.”
- Negotiation: “I need for us to find some middle ground or a compromise on this!”
- Analysis / problem solving: “Would you help me figure out how to solve or fix this reoccurring problem?
- Comfort and Nurture: “Would you please hold me and comfort me while I cry?”
Starting next week, we’ll take a closer look at how each of these fills us and relieves pressure.
Thanks for listening,
Milan & Kay