Relationships are trying. Loving ones are the hardest because we care so much. I find confusion in communication infinitely frustrating. What did he really mean? How did she interpret my actions? Did he understand what I just said? Was I able to look past her words and hear what she truly wants and needs? Is this quest hurting me or serving to make us closer? Are we building a foundation for deeper understanding?
Incapacity as opposed to unwillingness are two areas to explore. Is this person incapable of understanding or just obstinate? Have his experiences limited his ability to see another person’s needs as separate and as important as his? Is her drive to be right forcing all reasonable give and take out of consideration? His behavior is more easily excused if I think that he is incapable than if I believe that he is acting out of an attitude that is controllable. Choice versus biology. Incapacity elicits compassion whereas alterable attitude calls forth anger and pushback.
But how does anyone know what is someone else’s motivation? Step back, take your response out of your body and hold it at arms length. How do you feel? It helps to cut the ties that bind you and ask what part of the conflict is yours and what part is the other person’s. Some issues can be lessened with time to breathe and take responsibility for yourself.
As Terence McKenna said, “The problem is not to find the answer; it’s to face the answer.”
We are all learning and relationships help us to know ourselves better. They reflect our feelings back for us to face and examine. They are hard, but part of our need to grow.