How is it possible for two people in an interaction to have such profoundly different experiences? Do you ever feel like your life is like one of those sitcom episodes that shows the same events from different characters' perspectives and the humor is in how dramatically different each depiction is?
If truth be told, reality is most likely on some continuum between the two perspectives. We can decide we are right and can choose conflict and distance...we can cave...or we can find a more balanced perspective that can help us understand and be understood.
The challenge is to find the balance between trusting your own gut and expectations and perspective taking. We are all skewed by the frame that we bring from our history, personality style, etc. This can be intensified by strong emotions. The act of stepping outside of our own world view and taking someone else’s perspective can feel nearly impossible – but it can go quite a long way in improving the quality of our relationships.
At the end of the day, we really just want to be understood and loved in spite of our flaws. By stepping outside of ourselves and considering the perspective of our partners we give them that gift. This in turn makes it much more likely that they will reciprocate...