The Subtle Reason Humans Resent Each Other
I was watching this podcast recently which was hosted by Bradley Martyn.
Within the show, there were 2 guests.
Nick and Sky Bri.
They used to date but recently broke up.
They were on the podcast to explain why they broke up.
There was a point in the interaction where Nick said, ‘I love you,’ to Sky Bri.
I expected Sky to say it back.
But rather than say it back, she said:
‘I need to go pee.’
It was clear that Nick was upset by that.
Bradley could sense Nick was upset so he gave him some words of wisdom.
‘Nick, it seems like you express your emotions via words, but Sky may express them differently.’
When Bradley said that, he put words to something I noticed.
Words vs Actions
I noticed that Sky Bri kept saying that she was upset that Nick didn’t trust her.
She would emphasize the point:
‘I do a lot of stuff for you. I do a lot of activities to show that I’m a good girlfriend.’
That’s when I realized….
- She’s not expressing her emotions via words.
- Instead, she’s expressing her emotions via actions.
There was a disconnect between her partner and her because they spoke different languages to express their inner world.
This is the subtle reason humans resent each other.
We evaluate others based on how we behave.
Are you Evaluating Someone Correctly?
I do not care for gifts at all.
If someone gives me a gift, I will be happy.
But if someone doesn’t give me a gift, I won’t lose any sleep over it.
Because of me not caring at all about gifts, it’s easy for me to undermine the importance of giving gifts to others.
I know girls who love to get gifts.
And if their partner doesn’t give them a gift every now and then, they think the partner doesn’t care about them.
On the other hand, I like acts of service.
Aka: when someone notices something about me, processes it, and acts on it.
I like acts of service because that’s how I express myself.
Let’s say giving gifts is the lowest in terms of importance for me.
Let’s say doing something is the lowest in terms of its importance for the other person.
Now imagine that we are evaluating each other.
There’s going to be resentment we feel for each other because we keep reaching the conclusion that the other person doesn’t care.
If a person gives me an occasional thoughtful gift but is constantly late to things (despite me telling them that I hate being late), then I’d completely ignore their gift.
Instead of focusing on the positives, I’d double down on the negatives.
This is not the right thing to do.
It’s smart to switch perspectives at this point.
I need to meet them where they are, not where I am.
Real-Life Resentment Scenario
I knew this newlywed couple who spoke different languages.
The guy loved physical touch.
The girl loved words of affirmation.
The guy hated words of affirmation.
The girl wasn’t too fond of physical touch.
They would have spats every now and then.
One day, the guy asked a bunch of us:
‘Yo, what’s up with my girl? She’s not the vibe like I expected her to be.’
Luckily, one of the friends who had been married for a while gave a good answer.
He said that my buddy needed to see both sides, not only his side.
After talking it out, my buddy noticed that his girl was a talker.
She liked words.
She wasn’t much of a toucher.
Maybe because he was her first-ever boyfriend and she didn’t have much experience with that.
When he realized that they spoke different languages, he knew how to voice his concerns.
He asked her what she liked and how she expressed herself.
She said, ‘via words.’
That’s when my buddy realized that just like she was bad with physical touch, he was bad with words.
When she’d cook for him, rather than saying it tasted good, he just ate in silence.
Rather than attack her from the get-go for a lack of physical intimacy, he was able to learn what he was short on.
By learning about his own deficits, he was able to open with what he would work on BEFORE he critiqued her.
If he just critiqued her, then it wouldn’t have been a productive conversation.
Melt your Resentments
I knew this one Chinese guy who once told me that his dad never said he loved him.
‘Can you believe my dad, bro? 34 years of my life, and my dad never said I love you.’
I didn’t think it was a big deal.
Most foreign fathers don’t talk like that.
As he continued whining away, he talked about how his dad put him through college, bought him a car, and was helping him pay off some debt.
When I heard that, I realized that my Chinese friend needed perspective.
‘Sure, he’s not saying he loves you, but he’s showing he loves you.’
When I got my buddy to transfer his thinking from:
- Saying -> Showing
He was able to view his dad in a different light.
The resentment began melting away.
Building Emotional Literacy
Words are the language of books, while emotions are the language of humans.
Emotions come in all shapes in sizes.
Positive, negative, ambiguous etc.
Those emotions seek expression via a variety of ways.
Sometimes, the emotions seep out to the public through service.
Other times, it’s via words.
Other times, it’s via being present.
Just like we don’t read a Spanish book as English.
We shouldn’t read other peoples’ emotions solely from our lens.
Focus on the bigger picture.
By doing that, you will see a lot of your resentments fading away.
The person who you initially thought did nothing for you…
Was actually doing a lot for you.