This is an excerpt from the very insightful book, Secrets of Truly Beautiful Relationships, by Murray Oxman.
“Dr. Truth, you spoke earlier of the pain that all of us experience in our daily lives. You said that it is born out of knowing what you want in life and trying to get it. Is there no way to have a nice home, a nice car, nice clothes, ﬁnancial security, without pain?”
“Good question,” Dr. Truth replies, and continues, “The problem here is that the pain is trying to tell us something, but we do not listen to it. It is trying to tell us we are going about life all wrong. There is nothing wrong with having a nice car, home and nice clothes. The problem is that we want them not for their own intrinsic value, but to be a salve for our pain — to dull the pain. In turn we become very dull people.
“We all have been taught, by the actions of others, to avoid pain and seek pleasure. It is also an animal instinct that we inherited. But the truth is that you cannot add anything to the pain that will make it go away. No amount of pleasure will end the suffering. It only masks it for awhile. We must stop running from the pain and study it out of existence, I didn’t say wallow in it! One must be intensely interested in the pain — studying its every move. To study it one must bear the pain consciously. Bearing the pain makes us highly sensitive — alert. In studying the pain one comes to understand it. The understanding of it dissolves it forever. It’s a very beautiful thing to experience. Life without working on oneself is bleak. There is no real hope. But when one goes to work — honestly — vigorously, there’s real hope! I wish I could convey to you the vast rewards that are already set aside and waiting for those with a true heart to claim them. Any further questions?” Mike is the only one to raise his hand at this point. “Yes sir,” Dr. Truth says.
Mike asks, “If there was just one thing, the most important thing, we could leave here with tonight, what would it be?”
Without hesitation Dr. Truth replies, “Here’s a bit of relationship magic: Whenever you’re discussing anything with someone else, always put yourself in the other person’s position. That is, look at what you’re talking about from the other person’s viewpoint as well as your own. Do not have or defend a position. Drop the notion that your view of the situation is the correct one. And above all else — really listen to the other person. Listening is an art. This bit of practical magic, combined with the other things discussed here tonight can make relationships a real pleasure”