Have you ever experienced giving someone a good advice, and then they do the complete opposite, ignoring your advice completely? You listened to their problem, analyzed the information they were giving you, and gave them an logical and reasonable answer to their problem - But still they chose to ignore it? A bit hurt, frustrated and insulted, maybe even feeling disrespected, you decide to never bother listening to their problem again, because such ungrateful humans are not worth wasting your time and advices on.
Or maybe during a disagreement or fight in your relationship, where you have the answer to how the relationship can get better or whose fault it is that the relationship is falling apart, but don’t give your partner the time to really answer why he is acting or behaving the way he’s doing.
I think almost everyone of us has been in that situation several times. We know we have the solution to their problem, but yet they won’t listen to us. Never did it occur to us that maybe we were the ones who didn’t listen to them.
As we started Habit 5 in or class, I must admit I was a bit shocked to realize that this is exactly how I have been reacting to these sorts of situations throughout my entire life. I always analyze the things people tell me, and if they have a story or a problem to tell me. I will always try to find the logical answer to why they are feeling that way, what I think is causing the problem and “how I understand, and have experienced the same thing”. But did I really understand?
It is a frustrating thing, talking to someone who’s already made up their mind and created their own opinion about the situation you are having. We have all experienced the feeling of talking to a wall several times. The person is clearly not interested in what you have to say, which makes us feel judged and advised about things that weren’t really the problem. The consequences is normally that you stop opening up to those people. Maybe that’s why a lot of teenages and young adults don’t have a close relationship with their parents?
Sometimes we don’t need someone to analyze and judge the problems we want to open up about. We don’t need to hear how they experienced the exact same thing, and how they have the perfect solution to all our problems. Sometimes we only need to open up completely and let out all the things that bothers us, without somebody to put words into our mouth and not letting us finish our sentences. Sometimes we already know the answer, we only need someone to share the burden with, and give us the space and time to figure it out ourselves.