Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein
Each person has their own Mary Poppins type bag full of tools to help them live their lives. When you meet that special someone and want to have a full on relationship with them, beware. They will have their own bag too, probably a different set from yours. This is what I call our adaptions to life. Experience has told us which tools need to be in the bag. Some bags are fuller than others. Some tools look the same but have subtle differences like with a set of chisels. We may share some tools like how to boil an egg, work for a living. We may share some of the same goals or aspirations or we may share only a few.
Look at this picture. What do you see? What is important to you? Can you describe it? Now ask someone else what they see and what is important to them and listen to how they describe it. It may well be similar to you, or they may see something completely different. This is because they see the world from their perspective. Nothing is right or wrong, just different.
Once we realise that their perspective can vary from ours then hopefully we can become curious about how they view their world. In couple work we may spend time on this so that each can start to see the world from their own and their partner’s perspective. This is especially important if we have a difference of opinion and we feel very strongly about the topic. Staying in our partner’s agenda and listening to their view can be one of the most transformative tools that I teach my clients. That does not mean that our view is not heard or listened to, far from it. I use the word reciprocity often in the counselling room. What we give to another is reciprocated. Honouring and respecting each other’s view, even if it is different from ours, can be a meaningful revelation, yet it is so simple.
This mutuality allows us to hear and be heard. We cannot say we understand where someone is coming from if we have not heard them. It would follow then that being empathetic is impossible without a free exchange of thought and being curious about the other’s view. We cannot put ourselves in another’s shoes if we don’t let them speak without interruption. However, in order to do this, there has to be mutual respect for each other that says, “l am ready to listen and hear you, knowing that you will listen and hear me”.
You should be accepting and understanding of your differences with your partner. If you can learn to celebrate your different interests, then you can become a stronger couple.
The Mary Clegg Clinic has a proven track record of the delivery of premium quality relationship counselling. If you or someone you know is having difficulties then the trick is “seek help soon don’t wait till it’s too late”. Email firstname.lastname@example.org today and get the support you deserve.