We can only expect
(knowledge about a subject, situation etc. or about how something works)
when we understand!
And yes, I really want to get into a little more detail with this, even if I already briefly mentioned it in last weeks post. And yes, I can literally see my friend roll his eyes if he reads this…
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
― Albert Einstein
When I was a child and asked a question, I was very often told that I was to young or that I wouldn’t understand it yet. I cannot begin to tell you how frustrating that was then and that is something that has never changed for me. I find that most people are, even if you don’t expect it, very understanding when they actually understand a situation. So there lies my deeply rooted need (it has been called incessant) to understand WHY! It is a question that children love to ask and they can drive you mad, that whenever you explain something they keep asking “WHY?” It just shows their curiosity and that the answer has caused more questions and they want to get to the bottom of things – as do I.
Of course I know that this is not always possible. But I believe that in a functioning relationship it is exactly this mutual understanding that is indispensable to prevent that little things or misunderstandings destroy this relationship in the long run.
A former colleague of mine thought very differently. She often used the phrase:
(the fact of accepting a difficult or unpleasant situation)
I found this utterly frustrating and sad because it made everything so senseless to me and it actually even made me angry the longer I thought about this phrase. What would you prefer?
Acceptance without pain or acceptance with understanding?
Women often find it very difficult, and I unfortunately must include myself (at least sometimes), to say what they really want and have the tendency to accept things (but with that inner pain). If you want to get a man to talk, you have to help him understand. If you want a man to open up to you, you have to be willing to do the same and perhaps even take the first step – yes it makes you vulnerable (funny how this keeps popping up). Vulnerability seems to have quite some relevance – but it is a risk you should be willing to take. It might take a while, it might not always work to your satisfaction but you should definitely give it a try – it can be worth you while.
In a relationship understanding is a bit like a software, it sometimes has bugs, and there are updates you need to fix those bugs. We all change and evolve in our life as we grow, and we are never the same person that we were last year or a few years ago. Our personality changes and develops over time – consciously as well as unconsciously – and that is a good thing. But in consequence, this also means that understanding in a relationship should be a continuous process and not just a simple fact-check at the beginning. To have a good mutual understanding you need to have to repeat checking the facts as well as having a reality check once in while, which sometimes requires compromise. But don’t get me wrong, this does not mean that you have to agree, go along or even like what someone else is saying or feeling. To understand and accept, you don’t even have to feel it or get it. It is more about empathising as well as respecting and making space for others to feel and think the way they do. It is about accepting that what the other person is experiencing is about them and not about you.
So how can you go about understanding your partner better?
It is very helpful to get to know one another a little better
We all have our story and we all have our history. We sometimes just see our partner as just that; our partner, and we can forget that we are also dealing with a person with very different feelings and emotions that are not always there to accommodate our needs. So how much do you know about your partners strengths, weakness, joys, pains, fears and imperfections? You simply need to take your time to get to know your partner better if you want to make your relationship last – especially through the bumpy bits. And to understand someone else it is quite helpful to know and understand yourself a little better first. Do you know what makes you happy, angry or sad? Do you know how all of those emotions motivate you? Do you know how they influence the decisions you make? If you know all this about yourself it will most likely be so much easier to understand what your partner can be dealing with.
Value your partner’s own beliefs and ideas
Respecting your partner’s own convictions and accepting their own beliefs as a part of who they are, are necessary if you want to have a good understanding with your partner in the relationship. When you try to impose your own ideas and beliefs on your partner is not only condescending but can also leave you completely blind and unaware of how they truly feel. This can result in eventually drifting further apart as time goes by, to a point where you simply do not understand each other anymore.
Learn to compromise
The first lesson to understanding is possibly that you are on the same side of the table and that you are not enemies. If you are in a relationship you are actually fighting the same fight – or should be. If you want understanding in your relationship do not play the “blame game”. Instead you should focus on finding common ground, on choosing to agree to disagree, finding a compromise that suits you both. It is a give and take and sometimes you give in a little more, sometimes you are on the same page and sometimes your partner gives a little more. If you insist in winning the battle, you may still lose the war in the end – ask yourself if it is really worth it!
What’s worth it is more openness
It is really funny how we can often talk to friends and sometimes even complete strangers with ease, whereas talking openly about our ideas and emotions to our partner can make us utterly tongue tied. We also need to consider that not everyone wears their heart on their sleeve and knows how to put their ideas and feelings into words. So how can you understand someone if they don’t even know how to express their thoughts and share their innermost feelings? In this situation, you can only give time and encouragement to be more open by not only listening closely but also hearing what your partner has to say to understand and have understanding. You can even ask or encourage your partner to write things down in a letter to you and you can speak about it at a different time. There are so many ways to communicate and find mutual understanding, you just have to try it out and find what is right for you and your partner.
“Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.”
― John Steinbeck
In a relationship there is one other very important topic you should learn to speak about. A topic that is usually difficult for both men and women equally. But that is for next week…
TO BE CONTINUED…
And here the perfect song for this week – legendary….