by Samina Ali
Everybody is an individual and has their individual life experiences. It is these experiences that make us who we are. Someone who has had a wealthy upbringing will have a completely different journey from someone who has had a less advantaged upbringing. Just like someone who has been brought up by a single parent will have a different journey from someone who has been brought up having both parents under one roof. Many factors differentiate your journey from another’s: health, wealth, upbringing, gender, sibling impact, cultural impact etc. are some of the factors which differentiate our journeys.
This is probably one of the hardest things to accept: when we expect someone to understand our point and where we are coming from, it can be so disappointing when we realise that we are not being understood or our point of view is just not being seen. However, as much as we expect this from our family, our best friends and our partners, this is not always the case and will never always be the case. I am sure you can relate to these words: “I have always been there for her but she is never there for me” or “When it comes to them, I give everything and when it comes to me, they are never there.” Have you ever wondered why this is the case?
When applying this to coaching, we keep in mind that it is not always possible for people to see things from our perspective or understand where we are coming from. Our minds are limited to our experiences which we have had since our childhood: even though we may have the knowledge of many things, this doesn’t necessarily mean we have experienced it all. What we have not experienced, we cannot understand in its entirety. Surely the theory is understood, but theory has to be practiced to understand it totally.
When we are being understood by someone, we are being understood from their perception, their interpretation and their experiences, which are all combined to make an analysis to understand the matter at hand. Therefore, it is not a case of her/him/them not understanding you; it is a case of you within their own limitations.
So next time you encounter something like this, where you are confused as to why-so-and-so just does not get you, take a deep breath and relax. They do not intend to frustrate you. As a matter of fact, they are probably struggling to be the best they can – but, again, the best they can be is within the boundaries of their experiences in their own life, which has provided them with unique perceptions and interpretations. Why not appreciate these insights and differences?