About understanding and acceptance.
Some things forever remain a mystery, no matter how well we know our loved ones. We don’t always understand each other because we are all wired differently. This is what makes us special, unique and yes, sometimes beyond someone else’s grasp.
Why do we have the wish to try and understand each other?
With the ability to understand comes connection. We feel close to one another. It’s a good thing that we make an effort. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The good news is, we don’t have to understand every detail about each other in order to be close. That is true for both, private and professional relationships. I see the dynamic of understanding and togetherness in my private life as well as my group fitness classes, coaching sessions and trainings.
We don’t have to understand every detail about each other in order to be close.
About ratio and relationship
Do your loved ones have preferences or peculiarities that you, no matter how hard you try to understand, just don’t get? Same here. Tom and I agree on basic stuff like what is important in life and what happiness means, however, our viewpoints are usually very different. Let’s have a look at a simple example to show you what I mean. Noodles. I love Tom’s home-made tomato sauce. My ideal spaghetti dish is: two thirds sauce, one third noodles. That’s how I love them most, the spaghetti, almost undetectable under lots and lots of sauce. Whereas Tom prefers to eat the noodles with only traces of sauce. Even if he only puts on a tiny amount, there is still some sauce left in his plate when he is finished (don’t worry about waste of sauce, I always take care of the remains). Honestly, it beats me how Tom can eat spaghetti this way. Vice-versa, he can never understand my preferred version.
No pressure but…
Food is one thing, but our beautiful uniqueness bubbles to the surface of our relationships pretty much everywhere. Recently, I was working with a client via Zoom and in this coaching session we discovered how much the issue of understanding each other can benefit or complicate a relationship. Actually it was this session that motivated me to write this article, because I think we need to have a closer look at how we can live in harmony even if we don’t understand everything about one another.
Writing this article, I realized that understanding always comes with a claim.
Writing this article, I realized that understanding always comes with a claim. Words are like the Tardis; they are bigger on the inside. They always come with connotations and frames. So does the word „understand“. Whenever we say „understand“ we actually hint to an ability: can you understand.
Even when we want to go to sleep, we can or can’t fall asleep. The pressure is omnipresent.
The slight pressure to be able to understand is enough to cause stress. Why? Because we are surrounded by pressure. The pressure to perform, to be able to keep up, is everywhere. You can, you are better, you win – in your job, your yoga class, your parenting. Even when we want to go to sleep, we can or can’t fall asleep. The pressure is omnipresent. That’s why we all are especially receptive to pressure and we allow it into areas, where it is neither useful nor helpful. Once there is pressure about – I can or can’t understand a loved one – the guilty conscious with its tendency to place blame isn’t far behind. And here we are: Stress has slipped its sticky fingers into our relationships. Now, where there is pressure, the air stops moving and blocks our ability to change. Shall we open a few inner windows to bring in some movement and air?
Building a bridge
With a deep breath of fresh air, we swipe away the pressure to understand. Instead, let’s have a look at a close relative of understanding: to appreciate. It is free from the demand of „can“ or „being able to“ so there is no connotation of pressure. Appreciate actually includes a sense of respect and value. When we appreciate each other’s quirks and uniqueness, we don’t need to be able to understand each other fully. It is enough and truly immensely nurturing to be appreciated for who we are. When we try to understand each other, we show the willingness to peek beyond our own viewpoints and then, even if we can’t understand, we appreciate someone else’s angle and this is the magic moment: tolerance awakes. Acceptance and tolerance are major factors in a respectful and loving relationship. It is the bridge between us, when understanding doesn’t do the trick.
Have a try
What does this mean? It means that we should make peace with the fact that we can’t always understand each other fully and completely. We are all unique, different, versatile – how can we ever understand everyones quirks and viewpoints? The effort we make to understand is important because then, when we can’t relate, we still can appreciate and accept the different viewpoint. Acceptance and appreciation create a sense of closeness that might even run deeper than understanding.
Acceptance and appreciation create a sense of closeness that might even run deeper than understanding.
A full-filling relationship doesn’t require us to always be on the same page about every little thing. I believe that by not completely getting each other, our relationships remain truly alive and exciting. The fact that Tom is forever going to be a mystery, even though I know him so very well, is fantastic. Holding on to a curious attitude towards each other means that relationships can never drown in routine. Plus, we grow as individuals. When we challenge ourselves to switch our viewpoint, we train the mind to be agile and creative and invite the heart to be open and receptive. There we are, unfolding our full potential.
Holding on to a curious attitude towards each other means that relationships can never drown in routine.
Allow me to encourage you to do your best to understand others. Your best is always enough. Making an effort is what counts. Show interest. This is one of the major aspects of a loving relationship: never ending mutual attentiveness. However, we also need to make peace with the fact that we can never understand others 100%. It is OK that we can’t board every train of thought.
Appreciation does the trick
Every time understanding is standing in front of a closed door, we smile and activate the magical power of acceptance. Accepting others even though we don’t get their viewpoint or attitude, is an incredibly valuable gift. We all want and deserve to be loved and accepted as we are. Also, being beyond where the mind of others can reach, isn’t a bad thing at all. On the contrary – it is actually quite fun to be an exciting and versatile person and to surround ourselves with such humans. We keep each other in a state of curiosity and make sure that life doesn’t get stuck in routine.
Accepting others even though we don’t get their viewpoint or attitude, is an incredibly valuable gift.
This curiosity and awe of the uniqueness of every human being is extremely helpful in my job in group trainings, too. As soon as we look at fitness, yoga or stretching, we discover our uniqueness is not only in the mind but also in the body. It is fascinating to see how comfortable one of my clients is in a posture that for my body is not only impossible but would even be dangerous to attempt. Especially when it comes to hip rotations this is very obvious. Small and not so small differences in the bones show themselves in every movement. There isn’t any judgement involved – we are all unique. That’s what fitness and life is all about: Find out what you need and what nurtures you and then go for it, no matter what others are doing, no matter if they can relate to your choices or not.
When we coach, support and work with others we want to remember to remain curious and open and never forget that it is an honor to be side by side. We don’t ever want to force our way on others but provide the space to allow their uniqueness. The same is true for our private relationships, too: We support each other, we are close but we never lose ourselves.
Water the seed
Now it comes: The big conclusion of all of this. Are you ready? Here it is. Nobody has to do a posture the way we find it comfortable. No one has to see the world like we do. Nobody has to eat their spaghetti the way we prefer them.
Let’s remain curious and open and live with each other in a magical mix of awe, appreciation and connectedness.
Appreciating each other and remaining in awe of our beautiful uniqueness allows the much needed seed, tolerance, to grow and flourish. So, let’s remain curious and open and live with each other in a magical mix of awe, appreciation and connectedness. This attitude ensures that we will never stop learning and the world will forever remain exciting.
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