The benefits of personal relationships are immeasurable. They can bring immense joy and fulfillment, but they can also cause pain, conflict, and anxiety. When we have close relationships, we become vulnerable, and that vulnerability can lead to both happiness and pain.
Often, when we feel hurt, we put up walls to protect ourselves from being hurt again. While this may shield us from pain, it also prevents us from experiencing the joy and fulfillment that comes from meaningful relationships. Building walls can keep out both good and bad.
Sadly, too many people become detached from relationships due to misunderstandings and assumptions about the other person. We can never fully know another person, and often we see things from a different perspective and speak a different emotional language. A tone of voice, a look, or a comment can easily be misinterpreted, and our response is to feel hurt or offended. This can lead to assumptions, misunderstandings, and conflict.
How does this situation arise? People are often afraid of what they don’t know. They assume facts that may not exist, and then build prejudices around those assumptions. They make bad decisions based on rumors, other people’s opinions, or perceived behavior.
Many of these situations could be avoided if people took the time to check out the actual facts. When we are aware of the facts about a situation, person, problem, or opportunity, we can make decisions based on what is real rather than what is being perceived.
For example, imagine you attend a social function and meet your friend. She has a scowl on her face, seems aloof, and ignores your attempts at friendly conversation. It would be easy to assume that she is angry with you and spend a lot of energy wondering what you did to upset her. But a healthier alternative would be to ask her what’s going on. By checking out the facts, you can discover whether you did something wrong or whether something else is bothering her that has nothing to do with you. Either way, you are in a better position to help lighten her mood.
When communication issues arise in a relationship, the best way to find out the truth is to ask questions to discover what the other person actually means. What a person means can be very different from an interpretation from your perspective. Sometimes people may make a statement and not explain why they said it. This can lead to speculation and assumptions. By asking questions, you can clarify what the person means, gain insight into their perspective, and avoid misunderstandings.
It takes commitment to push through communication difficulties and not rely on assumptions. We may prefer to avoid speaking or confronting when we sense an atmosphere or feel hurt by a comment. However, if we keep the adage “When in doubt, check it out” in mind and push through those uncomfortable feelings, we will reap the benefits in the relationship. Our relationships will become stronger, and we will gain a greater understanding and appreciation of each other.
In summary, healthy relationships are vital to our wellbeing, but they require work and commitment. By checking out the facts and pushing through communication difficulties, we can avoid misunderstandings and build stronger relationships. Don’t worry or doubt; check it out!