Gary John Bishop is a writer and personal development focused leader. Watching him speak, I heard something that made me really stop and think. “If all your relationships are a reflection of you, how well are you doing?”
Oh ok, FINE GARY! In examination (and retrospect) it’s easy to feel vindicated by our bad behavior. Right for saying that thing. Validated in our judgments. All those things are easy to accept, if we look at our relationships by judging the OTHER person – but if we stop and say “let me see if perhaps this relationship isn’t so great because of my OWN action”, well that hurts the ego. THAT introspection wounds the pride and can break the heart. It’s FAR less pain to just cast the blame on the other party, even to go so far as to say YOU are the victim in the situation…but often it’s not the case.
We often head right into conversations, or interactions, without assessing what is ACTUALLY going on in our own minds. We forget our judgement or biases and we think “this person just isn’t listening”…when in reality – we refused to HEAR them, because we were so intent on vilifying them and making sure what WE perceived from them, matched what role we assigned TO them.
It’s a tough habit to break – but it’s just that, a habit. We can bring those “labels” or “roles” forward in our mind and even just that small action can help shift the view of the other party, and in turn make the outcome of the interaction more pleasant or fruitful.
I mentioned it before – but I think it is a good reminder, in this post – that every person is many things/labels to many people, but before anyone became (for example) a parent, they were once a human, then a sister/brother, then an aunt/uncle, a daughter/son and so on. It’s important to view them from the meta perspective of all they are, to every person they are in touch with. We see our (again, example only) parents as perhaps people who are no fun, who we could never want to imagine being sexy or sexual, or people who are “out of touch” because they aren’t in the same generation…BUT…all that is leaving out the experience of their youth. How they have felt abandoned, alone, resented, hurt, in love, sexy, or silly. We forget the struggles, world issues and complexities that they have endured and have these interactions with them as if they aren’t worthy of trying to be understood.
Bring the idea of the person and all their facets to the party. Not just YOUR interaction and dealings, but what you know from conversation or can just sense. Maybe then we can all truly strengthen the bonds between us.