When perspective is everything…
What you understand from a situation may very well be right…
The first time my perspective on life has been REALLY challenged was the time my wife (then girlfriend) went to India for an internship. I was a French teacher and she was a librarian.
Nothing prepares you for India. There is no amount of preparation you can do in order to handle the shock that is coming your way. Everything… and I mean literally everything is upside down. It took me months to be able to arrive at a point where I considered those people to be “real human beings”. Yes, not proud of it, but since this is how I felt, I’m not gonna lie about it.
In the meantime? My wife was dressed like them and enjoying life from day 2. I was pissed and jealous. I was the one educated in two very different cultures… how come she was the one adapting?!
She was enjoying a bigger understanding
- I was focused on myself, she was looking at the bigger picture.
- I was finding all the wrong in the scene, she was just enjoying what she knew she couldn’t comprehend.
- I was judging, she was appreciating.
That’s what I call here Radical Gratitude! And it helped me tremendously during the years to come.
Arguments and Radical Gratitude
The most important idea is as follows: you don’t know what you don’t know. You think you are right… but it’s only given the information you have in your possession. Presented with other evidence, you could change your stance. That doesn’t mean that you are a doormat, that means that you are an intelligent being capable of re-analyzing their thoughts, words and actions and adapt to the new circumstances.
That’s the key to Radical Gratitude.
In any argument, the most important aspect is to stay open to the idea that whatever is at stake in the argument, you could very well be wrong about it. This flexibility is telling a lot to your partner:
- I’m open
- I’m flexible
- I value your opinion
- I know what I know but I recognize my lack of knowledge in certain areas
- I’m ready to learn
- I value our relationship more than being right!
This last piece is absolutely, definitely crucial: I value our relationship more than being right!
A core piece of Gratitude is understanding and always reminding yourself that you chose that person… and that person chose you. It has implications, even if we lose the perspective sometimes. The most important implication? Their presence by your side is what really matters… not winning any argument.