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Posted on 03/18/2022

No One Thinks Like You

No One Thinks Like You

No One Thinks Like You

Wait, what?  No one?  

Yep, that’s the truth. No one can crawl into your head or into your past to truly understand you. This is our biggest hinderance in relating, communicating, and in connecting. We think others “should” understand us or know how we feel and what we need.  We lose so much time arguing, trying to prove our point and rightness, or in judging others on their opinion, that we end up feeling hurt, mad, or completely misunderstood. We don’t really share who we are.  

But here is the difference…sharing.  Not forcing. Not demanding. Not judging or comparing. Just sharing.

 “This is what I think and feel. This is what I believe. This is just my opinion.”

“What is yours?  I would really like to know.”  

Conversation is meant to be a dance. Each person shares their own experience. And just like no one can move quite like you do, no one will think or feel quite like you do either. And this is the gift of communication. You get to share what is important to you and you get to experience someone else’s experience. It is not meant to be yours. And it might not look like yours or feel like yours. Why would it? We are all here to be ourselves, with our own experiences, with our own wishes and desires, and with our own unique ability to create.  

When we stop trying to be the same, when we stop trying to be alike, and stop demanding others be who we wish they would be for us, we stop fighting against our differences and our distinctions. And then we can grow. Life would be so boring if we all moved or thought the same way. There would be nothing unique or special about any experience.   And we would no longer be important. No one is truly important if we are all the same. Communication and relationship are opportunities for growth. And with growth there can be change and the creation of something new.   

It is such a bizarre and destructive reality that we think we can tell another how they are to be. That somehow, we feel we have been given the authority to decide for another how they are to live their life.

We decide you must not get mad, or laugh, you better say please, it’s not ok to text (unless I say it is), you better be soft, or strong, or purple, or black, or blue, or recycle, not recycle, whatever it may be, but that we believe that we get to decide for another how they must live. And if they don’t do what we want, then they are hurting us, or it means that they don’t care. They are selfish. We have created an incredibly unhealthy view of what love or relationship is. You are to be perfect for me. And then I will be happy because then there are no problems.   So let me give you my list of who you are to be.  Okay? Actually, no, never mind, I get to decide. That’s it. I have spoken.

And no wonder this doesn’t work.

So…what do you do? Are you willing to try their dance? I promise you will stumble. I promise you will feel awkward. And I promise you will learn a ton about moves that you both make well and also some moves that you don’t.

So, here are three powerful steps to take.

 1. Tell the other, (in your own words)

“You are more important to me than this topic. More than this confusion or this challenge. I want to get a better idea of how you think and feel.  And I won’t judge or interrupt.  I will listen.”

And then close your mouth, open your ears, your mind, and heart. Listen deeply. Not to necessarily agree, but to hear. Remember, they want you to align. We all do. And here is how we learn.

 

2. Thank them.   

Thank them for trusting you and for sharing.  Let them know you appreciate them and your relationship in helping you both grow beyond yourselves.


3. Ask if there is anything they would like of you.  

Be prepared that they might say no.  Sometimes we just need to be heard.  This is especially true if conversations have been unbalanced.  You can always ask to share your thoughts at another time.  But there’s also a very good chance that they are going to ask you what you think.  Get clarity on what this means.  It doesn’t necessarily mean your opinion or your approval.   So, ask, “What is it that you would like to know?”  It might be a lot of different things: your agreement, your differences, what you’d do next, but get clarity on what it is that the other is wanting from you so you can help the conversation continue.  This is where most conversation get derailed.  And by being intentional here, you can really grow in your communication and in your connection.  It can feel slow, but it is truly being precise.  And precision brings awareness.  And awareness helps you to learn how to dance a little more smoothly as well as recognize where you stumble.  This way you can move a little slowly and carefully or create a little more support.   And all of these help us to feel more secure, comfortable, and connected.


The author, Dr. Heather Browne is one of the Marriage Friendly Therapists on our registry, she has two office locations in Orange County, CA and she is available virtually to anyone in California. Please check out her profile for more information. We also have many other great therapists available in almost every state, you can search via zip code at the top of this page.

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