Have you ever felt intolerant of the people closest to you? Your best friend, your partner or a family member or two? Sometimes, they just don’t respond or behave in ways that you want them to! No matter how much you try to appeal to them by making your point of view be understood, it doesn’t seem to change them. This can contribute to unnecessary suffering in relationships.
Furthermore, suffering often comes when you resist or deny what’s happening in your interaction with that person and you want it to be something other than what is actually going on. It’s so easy then to make your case against them and for your opinions, but it rarely solves or changes anything. Why?
Any unresolved emotional pattern is taken up by your mind and built into a highly intricate logical framework that masquerades as the absolute truth. – Richard Rudd, The Gene Keys
Relationships more than anything can bring up immense vulnerability. When you feel vulnerable or out of control, you might immediately grab control and one place you might go to is your mind… to locate some sense of certainty in the form of a mental construct that explains the situation so you don’t have to feel such intense uncertainty.
Once you come to mental certainty about a person, you cut yourself off from true understanding in the moment. You see, when you’re living in the shadow of this week’s hexagram 4, Youthful Folly/Answers, having answers and stating your case become more important than questions, especially in the arena of relationships. Being understood becomes more important than seeking to understand.
We often want to live in answers because they make us feel safe and secure. We want something we can count on, something that makes sense. Questions, on the other hand, can be unsettling. Questioning yourself and your relationships can make you feel vulnerable and insecure. Yet it can be the medicine for what ails your relationships.
Seek not so much to be understood as to understand~ from the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
For this week, what would happen if you asked more questions instead of trying to find answers? What might change if you were to seek to understand more than to be understood?
Some questions to ask yourself regarding relationships:
- What’s important to me about relationships?
- What’s the most important thing about my relationship with _________?
- What have I concluded or decided about __________ that may or may not be true?
The cool thing about asking deep questions like this is that no one else is telling you about relationships… you’re finding out for yourself through contemplation.
When you listen from your heart and with less need to be mentally certain, the answers you’re looking for to improve the relationship may softly land in that sacred space of your open heart.