“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought . . . | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | Palo Alto Online |

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Couple's Net

By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought . . .

Uploaded: Jan 22, 2023
. . . without accepting it.”
- Aristotle

Entertain these thoughts/ideas, let them rumble around inside you for a while. Experiment.

“Don’t believe everything you think,” I tell my clients.

Listening to your partner, saying back what you heard, and offering empathy is not the same as agreeing. It’s letting your partner know you heard him/her, that you care. When the time is right, you share your perspective, and s/he listens, says back what you said, offers empathy. It’s quite simple, and revolutionary.

When you have a disagreement, argue each others’ point of view. See what you learn. Seek and consider previously unthought-of options.

The goal is not to think alike, it’s to think together.

Bring realistic and constructive thoughts and words to any disagreement, especially with yourself.

Be curious, ask questions, seek new thoughts and feelings.

When you’re struggling, reach out for help. When another is struggling, reach out with support. At times it’s best to ask what s/he needs right now (vs. fixing). Other times a kind word, a sincere question, a hand on the shoulder, sitting together in silence or with music, or a walk together is your valuable offering.

As humans, we entertain an uncountable number of thoughts in a day. Seek ways to entertain positive thoughts, even, or especially, in the midst of trying times. When negative thoughts arrive, witness their presence and watch them float away on a cloud.
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Comments

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jan 22, 2023 at 7:59 am

Bystander is a registered user.

This is good advice as a life lesson, not just for relationships. If everyone listened to other's opinions even if they differ, it would make for a better society. Always condemning others, cancel culture, calling names, making assumptions, and similar are very big problems. We have to learn to agree to disagree and then find something else that we do agree on, then go out for a coffee!

The world is divisive nowadays. If someone has a different opinion, that should be a strength to build on, not a way to condemn. Understanding why someone has that opinion is a learning experience. They may have that opinion due to a different life experience, or a different priority or a different perspective. Listening is thought provoking and discussion and debate are signs of intelligence.


Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jan 22, 2023 at 8:29 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Well said, Bystander. I completely agree. As an aside, what I share for couples works for all relationships.


Posted by Ahmet Erdogan, a resident of another community,
on Jan 22, 2023 at 12:46 pm

Ahmet Erdogan is a registered user.

The key is to listen but there is no law against disagreeing.


Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jan 22, 2023 at 1:24 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

True, Ahmet. Just don’t be disagreeable when doing so.


Posted by Betsy Lake, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jan 24, 2023 at 9:05 am

Betsy Lake is a registered user.

What does one do if they do not share a commonality in language?


Posted by Gerald Hennessey, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jan 26, 2023 at 11:00 am

Gerald Hennessey is a registered user.

> What does one do if they do not share a commonality in language?

^ (1) Learn a new language. (2) Use sign language. (3) Hire an interpreter.

OR as Crosby, Stills, & Nash once sang, "if you smile at me I will understand because that is something everybody everywhere does in the same language."


Posted by Former PTown Resident, a resident of Stoneridge,
23 hours ago

Former PTown Resident is a registered user.

Too bad our schools, colleges, and universities are teaching "groupthink."


Posted by Justin Tarr, a resident of Stanford,
13 hours ago

Justin Tarr is a registered user.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought . . ."

^ That is what I told my mother when she caught me smoking pot at 14.


Posted by Eric Boswell, a resident of Danville,
13 hours ago

Eric Boswell is a registered user.

@Justin...me too.


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