ALL close relationships include hurting each other’s feelings if real risking happens.
I hurt somebody’s feelings today.
Inside me, I did everything right.
I listened for a really long time.
I was focused on what she was saying.
I was paying attention to all the parts of her experience.
And at the very end, after 20 minutes of listening, there was one tiny thing I said that I interpreted incorrectly.
And it was the only feedback I got from her.
No acknowledgement of how well I listened.
No recognition of how present I was.
Just this one tiny thing I did that upset her.
But it was a tiny thing in MY MIND.
In her mind it was the ONLY THING that stuck out.
It was a BIG THING.
It was the only thing that she remembered.
And she walked away upset with me.
So I went after her.
I chased her down.
I found her 5 minutes later.
And I asked what was wrong.
And she told me.
And I apologized, and stated back to her exactly what she was hurting about, and made sure, in her eyes, that I got it right.
And I got it right.
And she felt complete.
It does not matter if I felt complete.
That is not the point of reconnecting when I hurt somebody.
The point is to help her feel complete.
My ego wanted her to know all the things I did in the first place to listen to her.
My ego wanted her to know that it’s not fair that she focused on that one small thing only.
But my understanding of her… healed her… then healed me… then healed us.
There is no chance that that issue will remain a problem between us.
It’s tricky to know exactly what to let go of when something is bothering me.
It was bothering me that she did not see all I did for her in the beginning.
And that was the thing to let go of by learning what hurt her.
If it was still bothering me, I would share it with her.
But watching her heart open to me again… eliminated what was bothering me.
In conflicts such as this, two people often both need to be understood.
The Great Art is knowing that sometimes, by putting ALL of your stuff aside, and doing ALL you can to understand the other, you also get to feel understood… whether you shared your difficulty or not… because watching somebody in front of you feel open to you again, and love you again… is enough… is more than enough…
That is how love is created and maintained.
Derek HART is one of Your Monthly Mentors, a Relationship Coach, Speaker, Writer, and the founder of UnderstandEachOther.com based in San Anselmo, California. He has been counseling people since 1990, with over 27,000 hours in experience. The unique experience he brings to his counseling practice is based upon years of doing his own deep inner work. A student and teacher of the human journey, Derek has continually studied the great works of the top psychology and spiritual masters of our time. Read More…