There are things that are our nature. We are born that way. This nature gives us a basic background personality and acts as a fliter through which we view the things that happen in our lives. Experience then shapes us, teaches us, molds us and our behaviour, thoughts and perceptions. But nature is always there, and it’s always the refference point to which we come back, time and again. One is our innate character, the other our experience in this life. Behaviour and perception can be changed, nature is very difficult to modify. We mold responses and behaviours through the filter of our innate character, but according to our experience in the flesh, which is why we turn out so different.
My nature is sensitive and empathic, I like to help and heal, to accomplish this I use my ablilty to feel poignantly, to experience a large emotional range, so I can understand and empathize with the ones I’m attempting to help and heal. This filter has made me shape my experience of the world, everything that happens to me takes on a deep emotional significance, and I feel very acutely, not only the love and gratitude but the pain and impotence. Others don’t undestand me and therefore hurt me, many times inadvertently, for they do not feel as deeply as I do. That is not their nature. My partner for instance is a warrior, he is a fighter and colors all his reality in terms of this basic nature. He has to argue every point and win, he is aggressive, calculating and a bit paranoid, like a good general. Every experience that happens takes on a completely different meaning for him than it does for me. An example of this:
Situation: A store did not deliver some items in time for the Holidays.
My reaction: Disapointment at first, then I immediately empathize and think, “it’s the Holidays and they are so busy this time of year”.
His reaction: Anger and aggression, he thinks: “they are taking advantage of me, the only way they will understand not to mess with me is through pain”.
When the store people call to tell us the shipment will be late, I will tell them “don’t worry, I understand it’s the Holiday season and you must be really busy, I will make do”, If he answers the call, he will say “if you don’t deliver as planned and contracted, I will sue you!” If he hears my answer he will go ballistic on me for being too accomodating, and become aggressive towards me, hurting me deeply in the process because I feel aggression very keenly. If I hear him talk to them I immediately feel sorry for the store people and start trying to calm him down and stop threatening them. This basic difference in our natures has caused a lot of anguish and problems in our association. Although I understand the mechanics and his feelings, I can’t help but be hurt by his harsh attitude and words. He, on the other hand, not being as empathic is unable to understand how I feel and why I become so upset at his aggression with someone else.
The question is, is there a way to bridge this basic difference? The answer up to now has mostly been no. One person’s point of view is only his/hers and no one else’s. No person is able to completely understand another for they have a particular basic nature and life experiences, so the result is completely different. That is what makes evey single one of us unique, a singular manifestation, one that cannot be repeated or reproduced ever.
However, there are points of coincidence. No one but ourselves will completely understand us and be able to fulfill all our needs and expectations, it’s impossible. But we all share one point, we all feel all the emotions. Even if they come out differently in our reactions we have all known fear, anger, dissapointment, love, happiness and connection, even if for a brief moment, with another being. It’s these points of connection that let us relate, coexist and be able to build couples, partnerships, families and societies of common accord. It is here we can unite, with our commonality, even if each one of us is unique in him or herself.
So, what’s the recipe?
1. Understanding the other’s basic nature and your own.
2. Communication, talking only about myself and always reffering to the emotions.
3. Acceptance that the other cannot fully understand you, ever, or you him/her; acceptance of yourself and your point of view and acceptance of the other and his/hers.
4. Lowering your expectations.