Updated: Jun 28, 2021
Tom Philp (LPC, CEO) shares how both perspectives in a relationship can be true.
I see this a lot in couples. Couples will come in. They'll sit down. They're looking at an event or they're looking at a perspective from completely different ways and it almost seems shocking then, that I would suggest that they actually both have a good perspective on this, that both perspectives can be true.
I want to take a minute and talk about something that I think is really important for couples to be able to do. I think it's really important for human beings to be able to do, but I think it's one of the most difficult things for us to do and that is to hold simultaneously two things in mind at the same time.
What do I mean by this? I mean that oftentimes, even in our childhood, we're sort of seeing the world in black and white, things are good or they're bad, they're high or they're low and we tend to take that in as children and think about this sort of binary approach to life. Either you like me or you don't like me, you feel this way or you feel that way.
We tend to see that a lot on our politics as well, you think this or you think that, it can't be both, but, you know, the reality is that oftentimes both perspectives can be true and so, going from an “either or” to a “both and perspective”, I think is vital to our own emotional growth as human beings.
I see this a lot in couples, couples will come in, they'll sit down, they're looking at an event or they're looking at a perspective from completely different ways and it almost seems shocking then, that I would suggest that they actually both have a good perspective on this, that both perspectives can be true.
Both and, not either or and I just wonder if, as people, as politicians, as friends, as mothers, daughters, sons, fathers, all of our relationships, if we could come to a starting place where we can acknowledge that both of us hold an important perspective and to start there in our understanding of deeper of those perspectives, if that wouldn't help us be able to solve some of this strife that we have in our relationships and in the larger society as a whole.
Look, I don't want to get political, I’m not going down that road, that's not my job, I don't have the credentials for that. There's a lot of smarter people than I am in that area, but I do see a microcosm of this with couples that come to see us, where they're looking at things from a different perspective and when I can work with one partner and I can empathize with them and I can pull out all the nuances and the reasons why and sort of strip down the experience of why they see that the way they do and then, I turn and I can do that for the same partner on the other side of the couch, it does open up a sense of, “Okay. Well, maybe this «both and» is possible, that we both have a valid perspective of what's going on here and in that, with that starting place, is it possible for us to come together and then find a solution that works for us as, opposed to being locked in this binary either or perspective?”
If you have any comments, feel free to leave them below, I’d love to hear what you have to say. We'll see you next time.
- Tom Philp, LPC, CEO
Stonebridge Couples Therapy