Monday, April 9, 2018

Moving Beyond Misunderstandings

Frustrations are common for those of us living with Kennedy’s Disease. Our male egos are a constant burr under the saddle. These can lead to communication problems, especially with those you love.

Back in 1992, the book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, was hot commodity. Everyone was reading it. The author, John Gray, was on all the talk shows explaining what the book is about. Wikipedia summarizes the book in this way:

“The book states that most common relationship problems between men and women are a result of fundamental psychological differences between the sexes, which the author exemplifies by means of its eponymous metaphor: that men and women are from distinct planets—men from Mars and women from Venus—and that each sex is acclimated to its own planet's society and customs, but not to those of the other. One example is men's complaint that if they offer solutions to problems that women bring up in conversation, the women are not necessarily interested in solving those problems, but mainly want to talk about them. The book asserts each sex can be understood in terms of distinct ways they respond to stress and stressful situations.”

After many years of marriage, I firmly believe Mars and Venus are in asynchronous orbits. I say ‘apple’, my wife hears ‘orange’. I agree and my wife hears disagree. My wife explains the problem, I provide the solution, and we end up mad at each other. I ask why and she asks why I was not listening. Fortunately, it isn’t that bad, but when it happens, bruised egos create tense moments.

Fortunately, I am blessed with a wonderful loving person to share my life. One who will usually put up with all my crap. 😊

I wrote the following several years ago. Writing them down and following them do not always go hand-in-hand, however. This is a refresher course for me.

1. You have the right to respond but not the obligation.

You always have the right to express your opinion and discuss an issue further. But, only if it serves a purpose and helps you move forward. You also have the right not to engage and not respond.

2. Realize that others’ views of your opinions do not diminish your worth.
You are who you are and you are entitled to your thoughts and views. Your opinions are the position you hold at this moment, which may change over time.

3. It is okay to be misunderstood.

The newspapers and tabloids thrive on misquoting and manipulating words. In our daily interactions, others will take what they want to take from the conversations. You cannot do anything about it. And, if they do not like what you have to say, so be it.

4. Feel the emotions without rationalization.

As much as we would like to think that we humans are a rational species, we are not. We are highly emotional, and emotions drive a lot of what we say or do. You can waste all the time trying to figure out why someone misconstrued what you said. In all likelihood, what you expressed triggered a defensive response in them. It has nothing to do with you. So focus on how you feel.

Key Point: The more important the person is to you, the higher the emotional charge.

You may feel angry, upset, fearful, disappointed, hurt, betrayed or any other emotion. Write about your feelings, or meditate on them, or just sit quietly and allow them to go through you. Take your time—there is no shortcut for releasing your emotions. One thing I found helpful is to acknowledge my feelings at that moment are ‘emotional’. Placing a tag on them helps release the anger or frustration.

5. Write an imaginary response.

If you feel you need to express more of your thoughts and feelings write them in a letter. What would you say to the person who you feel wronged you? Write what you would want to tell them and how the interaction made you feel. An amazing release comes from putting thoughts and words to paper.

6. Sleep on it.

If you decide you want to respond and you want to discuss the issue further, wait a little while. Think about what you want to say, and if it is important, maybe even draft a response. Give yourself a day or two. In all likelihood, you will dismiss the issue and move on.

7. Let it go.

Often, the best course of action is to let it go. Do not hold a grudge or keep bringing it up. You do not want to add fuel to a fire in your heart. If the other person was not happy with your decision, you cannot change that. And, you cannot satisfy someone who is adamant about having an argument. Do yourself a big favor and do not engage in further discussion.

Sometimes the best opinions are the ones that remain unexpressed. Instead of trying to explain and validate your opinions, move on and do something that is more meaningful.

Key Point: If a love one is involved, always-always-always let them know you love them.
Letting go is freedom. You cannot force anyone to see your point of view. However, you have the power to drop the issue and move on.

After all, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.

BUT, if you really want a healthy relationship, follow this advice: 

"If you really – I mean really! – want a peaceful, loving, joyful and happy relationship as a couple, if you want to learn how to stop arguing for good, then the first step is to admit this desire loud and clear to yourself and to your significant other.

That’s the easy step. The next step is the game changer and the cure to ending arguments: You have got to KILL OFF YOUR EGO.

That’s it. That’s the big cure that works every single time. You cannot take your giant ego into a peaceful loving relationship. It Simply Doesn’t Work."


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