Practice Makes Progress

I am strong because I’ve been weak. I am fearless because I’ve been afraid. I am wise because I’ve been foolish.
— Unknown

Practice Makes Progress

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

What is it like to experience unconditional love? The answer is empathy. We have a choice to understand a viewpoint before giving our own. This is our ability to lead by taking the time to understand the other person's view and feel what they feel. How many people do you extend this courtesy to on the regular? I'd hazard most of us fall in the 20% range at tops.

We're so wrapped up in our own problems and fears, we forget everyone has their own story. Your world makes sense to you and their story makes sense to them. Assumptions rarely get challenged because we take them as being the truth. We allow a select minority of people to challenge our viewpoints. Our families, partner, parrot and that guy that cooks a mean Shawarma downtown. Hell, our loved ones and even Shawarma guy won't always get the benefit of the doubt. Taking a three-week vacation in the middle of the summer just ain't cool Shawarma guy.

I'm curious what a world of unconditional love looks like. Does it mean we kiss goodbye to fighting over mushrooms on pizza and just agree it makes sense? My partner still hates mushrooms but I understand the reasoning behind her choice. I'm empathetic to her needs most of the time. I've been known to order mushrooms on a pizza with the hopes she won't notice. Wishful thinking. We don't and won't agree on everything. But when you approach conversations empathetically the door opens to understanding.

How would that change your relationships and the conversations you have? What does a life with less conflict look like? How does that change your outlook? It gives us the opportunity to put a loved one's needs ahead of our incessant need to be right.

We rarely act on facts. Take obesity as an example, is anyone overweight because of a lack of resources? I bet you could name at least half a dozen gyms or weight loss clinics in a 12 block radius of your home or work. We don't fall into these traps because we don't have the information to act on. It's our lack of resourcefulness and actually doing the shit, we know we need to do to see the change we're trying to make. That's where most of us get tripped up. Even if we know it's the right thing to do, it's hard. That's why anything worth having means you put in hard work to reap the reward.

Practice makes perfect progress. Perfect when it comes to humans is as far-fetched as multiple Taken movies. Embrace the imperfection. Love the flaws that make us all unique. God only knows we can't be easy to live with either. You know, that weird annoying thing you do. I always coach. I have a hard time turning it off, which my partner will gladly attest to.

Sometimes all the other person wants is a listening ear. Try listening before offering up advice. Hell, try giving no advice at all. It's harder than you think. At first, it might feel like you're trying to shovel your driveway with a spoon but the payoff is worth the effort. Most of the time we have the right answer, what we lack is someone taking the time to ask us insightful questions.

For further reading... check out Mark Manson's article 1,500 People Give All The Relationship Advice You'll Ever Need

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