Couples Communication- Listening to your Partner
Your partners might know about you more than you think
It is likely that when you find yourself in conflicts with your partners you tend to disagree with things they tell you about yourself. You respond by telling them that they "don't know you as well as you know yourself". But you might be wrong: they see in you characteristics, traits, attitudes, reactions and behaviors that you deny and reject in yourself for the simple reason that these contradict the self-image you have formed about yourself.
Sticking on to the assertion that your partners are wrong, that you know perfectly well who you are, you neither listen to their feedback nor take the time to think about it. Rather, you go on repeating same reactions and behaviors in all your relationships. Not knowing better and not being aware of how these sabotage your relationships, you repeat same harmful reactions and behaviors with all your partners.
But notice: your partners might often see in you characteristics and traits you don't acknowledge and accept in yourself. The reason being - you deny and reject these in you if you feel they don't correlate with the person that you want to believe you are. Listening to what your partners tell you about yourself can help you change, improve and therefore develop and maintain a satisfying relationship.
Listen to your partners: it can facilitate you relationships
No one likes to be criticized; to be told what you should and shouldn't do; to be scolded for behaving one way and not another. But at times those close to you - your partners for this matter - do see and detect in you things you yourself don't see. They, in such a case, might be more objective about who you are than yourself. Accepting the possibility that you are neither objective about who you are nor aware will help you listen to them and decide whether to take their feedback into account.
One way to doing so is to view their comments as feedback, rather than as criticism; as coming out of love for you, not out of hatred; as commented out of care for the relationship you two are having, rather than a way to end it.
When you become willing to contemplate the possibility that yes, indeed there might be things about yourself you don't know, and that you might be sabotaging your relationships in ways unknown to you - you will then be in a position to benefit from your partners' feedback and find a way to make the necessary changes.
The courage to listen, accept and change
It is easier to always believe you are right, and your partner is wrong. But if you find yourself in similar conflicts and arguments about similar issues with different partners, than you know: there is something in you that brings up these conflicts and issues.
If you wish, wholeheartedly, to develop and maintain a satisfying relationship, but have found yourself unable to doing so (for one reason or another), a way to begin is by listening to your partner (if you currently have one; or re-construct, in your mind, feedback you have received from previous ones), take your time to contemplate over it, with as much honesty as possible. To your surprise you may find out that they have been right in at least part of what they said.
Your next step is to work on the feedback you have received, make the necessary changes and implement them in your relationship. You have nothing to lose - only to gain!
Doron Gil, Ph.D., is a Self-Awareness and Relationships Expert, a university teacher, workshop leader, counsellor and consultant. In his book ""The Self-Awareness Guide to a Successful Intimate Relationship Dr. Gil shows how men and women alike sabotage their relationships, teaches how to become aware of it and make the necessary changes: http://amzn.to/eAmMmH
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