And in the midst of talking about it… she will say her point of view so succinctly with some clever metaphor that’s dear to your heart, and suddenly, you get it. It makes perfect sense.
After a little awkward silence, you realize you’re so inside her point of view, you completely forgot what you were arguing about… You have to ask.
“Excuse me, can you remind me what I was…?”
“Yeah. You said that I was…” and she’ll describe the whole thing back to you.
And you go “Oh, huh. Wow.”
And it’s sort of one of those figure ground things, and it switches and you can see it again…
I mean, you had drawn your conclusions! You had collected the data, connected the dots, you’d seen the picture emerge, you were certain.
Same dots, same data. Just draw the lines differently, different picture.
Wow, never would have thought of that!
– David Wilcox, Singer/Songwriter
Why is it that we are so bent on forcing others to agree with our perspective? Think the way I think. Hear the way I hear. Speak the way I speak. Love the way I love. Our motives are so often focused on fixing others to be more like ourselves so that we feel comfortable, accepted, and wanted.
But ultimately, I think we want to fix others so we feel right. Correct. Justified.
I guess I could preach at you the sermon you’ve heard over and over to love people for who they are, not who you want them to be. Stop trying to fix everyone. Learn how to communicate on their level, love in ways they can receive, be there for THEM, yadda yadda yadda, you know all of this.
So… why do so many people have such a hard time with just letting others be different from them? There’s little to no room for being okay with the fact that other people think, process, and just act differently than you do.
Maybe it’s just me… but lately I’ve had quite a few discussions with friends about their frustrations with communicating with the people they love most, and I hear both sides. One side is angry, saying “You’re refusing to communicate with me in on my terms,” and the other side is crying out in anguish, “You won’t let me communicate with you on my terms!”
What would happen if you learned to understand and accept that the person across from you is a different person? She thinks differently, she processes differently, she expresses herself differently, and she loves differently than you do. This is what makes her unique. This is what makes her valuable. You want to learn how to be a better friend to her? Try being okay with the fact that SHE IS NOT YOU.
And more often than not, it’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong, it’s about learning who the other person is, and celebrating it!
So when you’re in the middle of that conflict with someone that you love, stop. Just stop. If it’s real love that exists between you, you should both be able to step back and understand that the other person is not trying to hurt you or be malicious. Love doesn’t scream “I’m not okay, and it’s YOUR fault! If you would just do X, Y, and Z, things would be so much better!” (Or on the opposite side of the same coin: “You’re not okay, and it’s YOUR fault! Tell me what’s wrong – in my language and timing, so I can understand you – so I can tell you how to fix yourself!”)
Love says “This is what I’m feeling. How did this make you feel? What can I do to make this right?” (And again, opposite side of the same coin: “I can see you’re not okay. Would you like to talk about it? You don’t have to, and I won’t make you. I love you, and I’m here for you.”)
I’m either rambling or ranting at this point… I guess my point is, just be willing to look at the dots again and see a different picture. Appreciate the differences.