As I climb into bed, various opinions and pieces of advice that people have given me over the years flash into my mind. I recall their musings on my life and on what I should and shouldn’t be doing.
After bulldozing in with their tuppence worth, these supposed do-gooders continued on with their lives without a second thought. Meanwhile, I attached more value to their throwaway comments than to my own lifetime experience of being me.
I’ve spent long enough caring about how others perceive me. I’ve winced at their judgements, flinched at their criticism, basked in their compliments, and hoped for their approval.
Before taking action, I presumed how other people would react. This ineffective technique of mind-reading actually influenced how I was feeling and the choices I made.
Now in my thirty-fifth year on this planet, I’m finally getting sense. I understand that anything anyone says is coming from their perspective. People dish out suggestions that are based on a minuscule snapshot of my life. And even that tiny glimpse is filtered through the lens of their own history and beliefs.
Last night, as I walked alongside my sister, I was tempted to ask for her thoughts on something I’d spoken about earlier. But I realised that I would be doing it out of habit. It didn’t really matter what she thought about this subject. Getting her to advise me would be a waste of her energy because I knew that I would go with my gut anyway. And I mightn’t even want to hear what she had to say.
Not many people enjoy being told what to do. Nobody likes feeling judged either. And how can anyone know with absolute certainty what’s right for another person? By doling out our opinions and “friendly” advice, we run the risk of blocking the flow of communication.
All we have to do is be there for one another. We don’t have to stress about giving the right guidance. What a relief not to have to be responsible for coming up with the answers or fixing everyone else’s problems.
Instead of handing out answers, start asking questions. This will facilitate lateral thinking, which will enable the other person to open up to previously unexplored options.
Support your friends/family/partners/clients in whatever course of action they decide to take. Listen to them. And more importantly, really hear what they’re expressing.
All we really want is for someone to just be with us and really hear what it is we’re saying. Because when we are heard, we feel understood. And when we feel understood by another human being, that is the beauty of true connection.
Posted in Personal development
Tagged acceptance, action, active listening, advice, approval, awareness, beauty, beliefs, blocks, choice, clients, co-dependecy, communication, connection, ease, empathic listening, energy, family, fears, flow, friendship, guidance, habit, history, insight, judgement, life, life coaching, listening, living, love, now, open, opinions, past, perception, presence, problems, questions, reactions, realisations, relationships, responsibility, self, self-esteem, sense, stephen covey, stress, trust, unconditional love, understanding
Who knew I’d be inspired by watching Knocked Up? Please desist from turning up thy noses. Because it takes a certain sort of genius to make people laugh. And you can’t beat a good Apatow flick. And Seth Rogen’s laugh is priceless. But none of the above reasons are what got me writing this post. It was the thought-provoking scene, where married couple, Pete and Debbie, played by Paul Rudd (I so would) and Leslie Mann, have a huge argument.
Debbie is furious because she’s just found out that Pete has been sneaking around and lying to her. But he’s not cheating. He’s playing fantasy baseball league with his friends. Which is worse than infidelity to Debbie because it means that he would rather hang out with his nerdy mates than be with his family. He can’t understand why she can’t understand that he just needs space. He simply cannot fathom how his wife loves him so much that she wants him around all the time. And that is their biggest problem.
Basically, he just misses his male camaraderie and she’s being controlling. Sound familiar? So many married men would do anything to get away from the old “ball and chain” as often as possible. But what about the women? Don’t they want to get out and party with their gal pals too? Or is it presumed that just because they’re female, they’re clingy?
I was in a relationship once where I could never quite figure out whether I was being needy or he was just a commitment-phobe. I wanted to spend time with him. He wanted to play sport.
Admittedly, there are a lot of women out there who drop their friends, their hobbies, and their nights out the moment a half-decent dude shows up. They throw their everything into making the relationship work. Can you blame the overwhelmed partner for itching to get away from this co-dependent woman, who’s rapidly gone from being passionate and smart to whining and insecure?
It’s funny how, when describing matters of the heart, you can’t avoid terms of violence… I love you to death. All’s fair in love and war. She loves me to bits.
Just because you’re in a relationship, doesn’t mean you have to give up who you are and what you enjoy. If you don’t believe in relationships, don’t join one. But if you do want a partner, you’ve got to realise that compromise is a necessary part of a partnership. The trick is to find someone you’re compatible with. Because that is half the battle.
Images: http://www.graphicshunt.com/wallpapers/images/lots_of_hearts-7088.htm; http://break–my–heart.skyrock.com/1.html
Posted in Love
Tagged argument, break ups, co-dependecy, comedy, compatibility, dependency, film, friendship, genius, hobbies, independence, insecurities, judd apatow, knocked up, leslie mann, love, marriage, men, movies, nights out, passion, paul rudd, relationships, seth rogen, women