The glorious, mysterious, and often frustrating mix of energies between male and female has left mankind puzzled for centuries. And nowhere is this more evident than in the LANGUAGE used by both.
Even given the most noble intention...to BE THERE for the other... males and females often find their well-meaning attempts to request help and to respond get twisted and turned when the other sex tries to ascertain the meaning.
And here's why.
Men like to primarily fix things. The mere mention of a problem by a female makes a male want to come up with the perfect solution and be the hero in her story of distress.
Women, on the other hand, just want to be HEARD. And this translates to being listened to with great patience and compassion as they explain their plight, often weaving into the story other related concerns. They DO NOT usually want to hear a quick fix. What they want is to feel they are being listened to, heard, understood. They want to know that SOMEONE understands their feelings.
Now that's a recipe for a perpetual conundrum.
None of this is news as we have all been aware that there are vast differences between the way the sexes perceive problems and the ways they want to solve them.
My attention here is on HOW to navigate these waters. And here's my thought.
The first thing we have to do is OVERRIDE THE ORIGINAL DEFAULT BUTTON...the button that makes males confusedly wonder why females won't appreciate a great problem solving idea and females conclude that no one understands how they feel.
When that default button gets pushed, emotions start to CRACKLE and everyone is dissatisfied with the outcome of the interaction.
Overriding a default takes conscious intention and perhaps we can embrace this idea by the promise it offers to help keep communication misses off the radar.
The new default button is THE IMMEDIATE STATEMENT OF HELPFUL INTENTION.
She says something like, "I am feeling sad (distressed, worried, anxious, etc.) and I think it would help me to know that you understand the emotion I am experiencing. Just understand it...no need to solve it right now as I am not ready for that step just yet."
He says, "I can see that you are distressed (unhappy, worried, stressed, etc.) and I care about you and want to help you feel better. I have some ideas on how to do that when you are ready to hear them."
Now this will take some adjusting on the parts of both sexes because when the female is in a distress mode (the forlorn maiden locked in the tower of her emotions) and the male is in the problem solving mode (riding up on his noble steed, equipped with the weapons needed to fend off the enemy)...when these conditions have arisen, it is not easy to change directions.
The forlorn maiden must vacate her role as damsel-in-distress and the prince-riding-to-the-rescue must vacate his action-driven energy and both must become the calm, patient and wise communicators...at least for the first few minutes of the interaction.
Then, knowing what each other's intentions are, the conversation will now have the chance to play out differently. Both parties can feel understood and appreciated.
The crisis has been attended to.
This is not an easy formula to put into practice because it is so natural to feel that the other sex SHOULD KNOW what we need and are intending.
But, energy-wise...this is a very efficient idea because the investment of a different approach and new default button will ultimately save the emotional trauma of someone feeling misunderstood...a perception that can persist for an indeterminate amount of time
In this way we can even improve on Mother Nature's DISTRIBUTION OF EMOTIONAL RESOURCES and, through a conscious investment of our energy, easily receive/respond to what it was that we were originally looking for and hoping to give.