On most subjects, I have rather fragmentary knowledge. There’s always something I never really understood and, for this reason, forgot. There are also things I once understood but forgot anyhow. Sometimes I feel really dumb.
But there’s no subject I feel dumber about than human relationships. And even if it often seems to me like it’s not a thing you can educate yourself about, and that I should already know something about it “naturally”, I find myself feeling so dumb at times that I need to resort to some sort of literature. A book. An article. Something, anything, a thing made of words that ring true and, at least to some extent, scientific.
So I came across this article recently — you knew this sentence was coming, didn’t you? — and I found some wisdom in it.
It’s called “How Compassion Fades in Love Relationships”, you can access it HERE, and of course the wisdom contained in it does not by any means apply solely to love relationships. The case with most stuff written on love relationships is that it goes just as well for other human relationships. Perhaps putting the word “love” in a title is just a matter of click baiting.
Anyway, the part I found most interesting was about the mechanism we follow when we interact and a Problem comes up. The Problem usually comes up when somebody behaves in a way you don’t like. For example, they avoid conversations, fail to do what they promised to do, interrupt when you’re talking, or seem forever unhappy with everything. And it makes you so sad! So angry or disappointed! They hurt you so much, those bastards!
Well, the latter is actually not the case, and this is where the Problem lies. More often than not, those people do not hurt you. This is not what they intend to do. The reasons for their behaviour might be completely different from the ones you already made up in your head.
She doesn’t like me anymore… she doesn’t think I’m an interesting person to talk to… *sad face* Well, maybe she’s just feeling sad lately and not in the mood for talking?
He didn’t book the tickets like I asked him to do… He’s letting me down so badly… Poor thing, perhaps he’s just terribly busy and stressed out these days?
They think I don’t have anything to say anyway and that’s why they keep interrupting me… *sob* Well, some people have a temperament that disposes them to talk a lot, and without waiting for others to finish.
She complains all the time and it makes me feel exhausted… Well, perhaps she really does have reasons to be unhappy. Why not try and help her? (Start from teaching her that complaining sucks.)
These are just examples. In fact, there’s about a million cotillions possible reasons. Nope, it’s not a number. I just wanted it to sound scientific… and it didn’t, just like so many things that we do for reasons of our own appear to have a completely different motivation in other people’s eyes.
I guess I could sum it up by saying that we should all learn to stop and think for a while before we accuse somebody of hurting us. Our hurt feelings don’t make us experts on other people’s behaviour or on their motivation. It seems they make us quite dumb, in fact.
So, there it is. The riddle. Björk is right, you know.