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We all crave connection with those closest to us. Really, what we want to feel is that we are understood, like ‘our people’ know where we are coming from.
When I first started dating my fiancé we had a tumultuous relationship at times. With his life as a World Cup Ski Racer and mine as a 4th year university student, our schedules were anything but typical. He would come home from racing and have a hard time understanding why I couldn’t ‘just miss a day of school’ or ‘get someone to cover my shift at work’ while I would be angry that despite our 8 hour time difference and all his pre-race preparations he couldn’t just send me a note to say ‘Hi’.
Eight years later we have certainly come a long way! We may or may not talk the day before a World Cup race and when he comes home he just lets me do my work and live my normal routine. One of the places that gave me the greatest strength was learning to be ok with what I was feeling and not ‘needing him to understand me’. Today our relationship feels supportive rather than defensive.
This year I have the privilege of working with Jill Coleman, an international expert on Mindset and Female-specific fitness, as my coach. When I read her work, I feel a connection, like wow, she just gets me! Recently, Jill shared something on a blog that really caught my attention (as most of her posts do!) It was:
Wow – I thought at first, ‘that seems pretty lonely! No one to understand me?’ And then I spent some time reflecting that the best parts of my relationship came from giving up my desire to be understood. I now live to fulfill my own purpose and let my man do that for himself too.
I thought about the times I had spent justifying, defending and explaining my actions. I was so in my own head there was no space for compromise, working together or even listening to his perspective.
Ok – I get that this seems intuitive, but have you ever been ‘listening’ to someone else and really all you are doing is thinking up what you are going to say back to them? Figuring out your next line? This leaves no room at all to hear what your loved ones are saying. Talk about lack of connection!
Now I practice listening when someone else is talking, repeating back to them what I have heard them share and they often say – ‘Yes! That is exactly how I feel!’ Simple it is, but a good practice to use in all relationships, especially during arguments. 🙂
And then there will be times that you just simply do NOT understand where your loved ones are coming from. I would love to say I understand what it feels like to be off the podium by a one-hundredth of a second, or to be living out of a suitcase for 7 months of the year but that is just not my reality. We all have our own struggles and using empathy or the ability to see a situation from someone else’s perspective is super powerful.
It truly is amazing, the amount of inner strength that you can find when you simply choose to accept where you are and if no one else ‘gets it’ – that is ok too!
Thanks for ‘listening’