Chris Markiewicz's Blog
Every Monday – thoughts, observations and ideas that hold up a mirror to who & how we are

An unrecognised pleasure

A few days ago, Ingrid my partner and I were engaged in a rather heated discussion. It was going nowhere, apart from perhaps downhill.

And then…..…..

I can’t identify precisely what she said or how she said it but I suddenly understood her point of view. It’s like something clicked and I let go of my adversarial stance. I then put forward another view, framed in a more empathic way and it landed with her. Her next words to me, as she was leaving to go out, were:

“I now feel heard”

In just those few seconds, a potentially nasty situation simply melted away and, in its place was harmony. I hadn’t lost, she hadn’t won – we simply understood each other.

Later that evening I was lying in the bath listening to a radio discussion about what drives us and our propensity to being (quite naturally) attracted to things that are pleasurable. One of the participants declared how she loved the expression “the pleasure of being understood”.

As I lay there, I soaked up, not just the water, but also the notion contained in that phrase.

When someone understands us – whether they agree with us or not – it gives us great pleasure. For me that pleasure is easily comparable with many other more conventional pleasurable experiences, such as that warm bath. Yet it’s one that is seldom acknowledged or recognised.

I often say on courses that the desire to be understood is one thing that every human has in common. This is different to being agreed with. Linking it with pleasure really does resonate with me.

So, as I remember times where someone has really “got” my point, I can re-live the inner warmth that brings to me. The conversation may continue with differing or even opposing views but somehow it doesn’t matter as I feel heard and therefore pleasured by that. It’s visceral.

A cautionary note – the desire to understand must be genuine. For more on this, see my post from November 2010:  “I hear what you say……”.

So, next time you want to think of something that will give pleasure to others, whether family, friends, colleagues or, indeed anyone, consider the idea of really trying to understand their viewpoint. It doesn’t mean you need to let go of yours, but is much more likely to lead to mutual pleasure.

Oh, and another thing – it costs nothing, so you needn’t shell out for expensive gifts or meals out and you can spend the money on yourself instead – tee hee!


PS: When I asked Ingrid to proof read this post, she immediately vividly remembered our interaction that day and the good feeling derived from being heard and understood.



2 Responses to “An unrecognised pleasure”

  1. Great article Chris, if we can understand why people do things, or in a wider sense why anything happens, we are more likely to accept differences, be able to influence others or change ourselves.

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