Archive for Personal growth

To understand each other (Part 5)

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Paul Tournier writes in his book that in order to achieve understanding we need to accept our natural differences.

He says that „instinctively, a very rational man is going to marry a very sentimental woman. Their complementing one another will, at the beginning, elicit an enthusiastic reaction in him. But later on he will want to make her listen to the objective arguments of reason; he will become annoyed at not being successful in this. He will try to show her that she is not logical in her sentimental explosions.“

??? When you look at couples around you – do you see this???

Now he explains what the woman will do. He says that she will „reproach her husband for his ice-cold rational manner which stifles all life.“

Nevertheless: even if people are so different by nature, they are „made to complement each other, that through each other they may discover so much of what they’ve not known or sensed before. This is one purpose of marriage.“ (Page 37)

Tournier says that man and woman are „basically different“ and this is the reason, why they have „such great difficulty in understanding one another and such great need of one another for their growth.“ He mentiones that a man has a „theoretical mind while a woman has a more person-centered mind“ and that a woman „thinks of people, and in terms of people.“ (Page 38) When men gather together they „expound magnificent theories on the way the world should be governed and how universal peace (…) can be achieved. These theories are quite abstract, detached, and unrelated to the immediate situation.“(P.38)

So a man can learn from a woman and he can „aquire a feeling for persons. Civilisation built by men alone would remain abstract, cold, technical, and dehumanized. A woman thinks in detail, also. Details interest her more than general ideas. She has a need to tell all the day’s happenings, once she is with her husband.“ (P.39).

The man „needs to learn from his wife the importance of both concrete and personal details, without which general idas are no more than empty theories.“ (P.40)

Tournier points out the speech itself „has a different meaning for men than it has for women. Through speech men express ideas and communicate information. Women speack in order to express feelings, emotions. This explains why a wife will relate then times an experience she has lived. It is not to inform her husband.“ (P.40)

She „needs to tell it again in order to discharge emotional tension which the experience has built up in her heart. Many men never ebven get to express their feelings, to say the „I love you“ that the wife would like to hear a hundred times. She asks, „Do you love me?“ He replies, „You know that I do.“ It is not that she does not know. Rather, she would like to hear it expressed ever once more. This is the greater since her husband never says it to her. He expresses his feelings in other ways: a caress, a look, or even a rough kind of grunt.“ (P.40).

Tournier tells a story of a woman „who was suffering from just such a lack of ever hearing a tender word from the lips of her husband. One day she came to see me quite upset. Her husband, without even having warned her, had had the workmen come to refinish her living-room floor. The whole house was upset and dirty. This woman was irritated. I said to her, „Each person speaks in his own way! This is how your husband tells you that he loves you. Throw your arms around him if you can understand his language. Tell him how he must love you in order to go to such expenses to give you a more beautiful living room.“

This expample reminds me actually of what my husband did for me. He painted the kitchen, table, shelves…. : everything white (in lots and lots and lots of hours), because I love white furniture! He also planted once tulips for me, because I LOVE tulips. He planted 100 (!!!) tulips for me! Wow – he really must love me =) This is really amazing! THANKS!

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Further Paul Tournier writes in his book, that in order to „understand each other, man and wife must take an interest in what interests the other, and come to understand why it interestes the other. A man will talk of his interest only when he senses genuine interest in another, and it is only when he talks of it that the other can understand better the character of that interest. In this way the horizon broadens for both partners, instead of steadily narrowing. Real understanding always brings with it a going beyond one’s self. Then can teh home serve as a foundation to one’s calling, and the calling can enrich in its turn the spiritual life of the home. The conflict from wich many couples suffer can be solved. Yet, the profound differences which separate men and women are found in the very thing which brings them together: love itself.“ (P.42&43)

Book: „To understand each other. Classic wisdom on marriage“, Paul Tournier

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Being in a hurry

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Being in a hurry.

Getting to the next thing

without

fully entering the thing in front of me.

I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry.

But a thousand broken and missed things,

tens of thousands,

lie in the wake of all the rushing….

Through all that haste I thought I was making up time.

It turns out

I was throwing it away.” 

Ann Voskamp

 

??? What’s your experience???

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To understand each other (Part 4)

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How do we achieve understanding? Paul Tournier writes in his book*: „One who feels understood feels loved, and one who feels loved feels sure of being understood.

(…) Deep sharing is overwhelming, and very rare. A thousand fears keep us in check. First of all there is the fear of breaking down, of crying. There is especially the fear that the other will not sense the tremendous importance with which this memory or feeling is charged. How painful it is when such a difficult sharing falls flat, upon ears either preoccupied or mocking, ears in any case that do not sense the significance of what we’re saying.“ (P.28+29).

So what can happen next? Tournier points out that a partner who has spoken in a very personal way „without being understood falls back into terrible emotional solitude. He may become sick because of it. In such circumstances some will go to see their pastor or priest, others their doctor. They are simply seeking someone who can understand. In certain cases of therapy, the help of a doctor or of a man of God may be necessary. Often, however, a wife can bring the same help to her husband, or he to her, if the same painstaking care is exercised in listening as would be done by a pastor, priest, psychologist, or doctor. How beautiful, how grand and liberating this experience is when couples learn so to help each other. It is impossible to overemphasize the immense need men have to be really listened to, to be taken seriously, to be understood.“ (P.29)

I think we can all learn to listen better! Some are better than others already. But each one of us can improve!

He says that a man, if he is alone „marks his time and becomes very set in his ways. In the demanding confrontation which marriage constitutes, he must ever go beyond himself, develop, grow up into maturity. When marriage is reduced to mere symbiosis of two persons essentially hidden from one another, peaceful though such life may sometimes be, it has completely missed its goal. Then it is not solely the marriage which has failed, but both husband and wife. They have failed in their calling as a man and a woman. To fail to understand one’s spouse is to fail to understand oneself. It is also a failure to grow and to fulfull one’s possibilities.“ (P.31)

What Tournier points out as very important is to face problems and not to avoid them.

What? Problems? Some couples might say: We never argue. But like Tournier says, there are „problems in every marriage“ and those „who make a success of their marriage are those who tackle their problems together and who overcome them. Those who lack the courage to do this are the ones whose marriage is a failure.“

It is the „differences in our characters, tastes, habits, prejudices, and convictions which oblige us to a greater effort to understand each other. These in turn lead to further growth in both of us.“ (P.33+34)

It takes courage he says to „face up to all the problems created by a complete adaptation of two personalities. People are very different one from another.“

And „to come to understand that one’s partner is very different – this already presupposes a great deal of personal growth.“ (P.35)

??? Can you relate to what the author is saying? Do you share his opinion? What do you experience in your marriage? Do you have any good tips for understanding the other better???

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*Book: „To understand each other. Classic wisdom on marriage“, Paul Tournier

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Emotion versus Reason

Sometimes I am quite emotional and for me it is good to talk with people, who are not so emotional. But sometimes I find it irritating, when people don’t show emotions. It is good to have a healthy balance. I learn in some situations, not be be too emotional. I find this following quote helpful – both go together (emotions and reasons).  It’s not only emotion OR reason – both are important to pay attention to.

“For that next sticky situation that gives you grief, create an Emotion vs. Reason list. Grab a sheet of paper and give yourself a few quiet moments to list on the left what your emotions are telling you to do, and list on the right what your reason is telling you to do. Now consider where your emotions are clouding your judgment and where your reason ignores important emotional cues.”

(Quote: Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Strategy #17)

 

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??? What is your experience with your emotions? Are you more the emotional type or more the reasoning            type???

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How to improve understanding between individuals?

In my teacher studies I came across the „Johari Window“ and just a few weeks ago again. I had already forgotten about it and it was very good to read up on it again.

I find it very helpful.

The Johari window is a technique created by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in in the United States. It is used to help people better understand their relationship with self and others.

The two key ideas behind this tool is that you can build trust with others by disclosing information about yourself and with the help of feedback from others you can learn about yourself and come to terms with personal issues.

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There are 4 areas:

  • Open Area
  • Blind Area
  • Hidden Area
  • Unknown Area

The open areais things you know about yourself, e.g. behaviour, knowledge, skills, attitudes.

The blind areais things you are not aware of, but that are known by others. This can be simple information that you don’t know or it can involve deep issues (e.g. feeling of inadequacy, incompetence, unworthiness, rejection). These things are often difficult for individuals to face directly and yet can be seen by others.

The hidden area is things you know about yourself but others don’t know.

The unknown area is unknown by you and others.

So what do we do with this knowledge?

The end goal is to enlarge the open area, without disclosing information that is too personal. The more your people know about each other, the more productive, cooperative and effective they will be when working together.

The process of enlarging the open area is called „self-disclosure“, and it’s a give and take process that takes place between yourself and the people you are interacting with.

As you share information, your open area expands (vertically) and your hidden area gets smaller.

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As people provide feedback to you about what they know or see about you, your open area expands horizontally and your blind area gets smaller.

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The „Johari Window“ helps to look to your own character and it illustrates the importance of sharing, being open and accepting feedback from others.

 

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Feedback

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Do you like to give feedback to others? Do you like receiving feedback?

Yesterday I read a quote and want to ask you: what do you think about it?

 

“Feedback is a unique gift. It can be exactly what you needed to hear or it can miss the mark

entirely. To take feedback well, first consider the source. Listen closely to what’s really being said.

Ask questions or ask for examples to better understand. Whether you agree or not, thank the person.

Take time to absorb it and then decide what you will do or not do about it.”

( Book: Emotional Intelligence 2.0)

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Timing…

 

 

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Lately I am very busy, and I only post very short posts, but in a few months I try to do it more frequently again.

I read a quote lately which is very helpful for me:

“When dealing with people and their emotions, timing really is everything. You don’t ask for a favor when someone is angry or correct someone who feels threatened by you. To practice your timing with others, ask the right questions at the right time with the right frame of mind, all with your audience in mind.” (Strategy #35,in the book: Emotional Intelligence 2.0, )

I guess I have to learn a lot finding the right timing when to talk and to be silent when it it not the right timing yet to talk!

It would be interesting to know what you think about this quote and how you deal or dealt with it so far!?

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