Awhile back, someone very close to me told me that he doesn’t think I respect him. That knocked me on my you-know-what because, of course, I respect him very much. Indignantly, I started pointing out all the signs that conveyed my respect. Clearly, he didn’t see things the same way.
As my list grew, I saw his eyes glaze over and realized that nothing I said mattered one whit. The things on that list may have been important to me, but they weren’t important to him. Hitting him over the head with them wouldn’t make him appreciate them any more. I might have well been speaking Chinese to a German; I wasn’t speaking his language.
I realized once again the importance of making a connection. Even though his perception didn’t accurately reflect my depth of feeling, it was his reality. Until I understood that, we were destined to miss forever in this area.
It never hurts to be reminded that perception is reality. Even if that perception is flawed, that doesn’t make it less real to the person taking it in. To change his reality, I have to change his perception, and that means learning to speak his language.
Now that I know that different things are important to my friend, I can be more *ahem* respectful of his pinch points. Hopefully I will be better able to demonstrate the level of respect I have for him in a way that will resonate with him (not me).
Someday I’ll finally get it.