"The Art of Being Wise is Knowing What to Overlook."

October 8, 2022

"The Art of Being Wise is Knowing What to Overlook."

May 29, 2023

As quoted above, William James was a philosopher, historian, and psychologist, but he might as well have been a marriage counselor. Feel free to send today's post to your spouse or partner, especially if you have a personal tote board regarding your relationship or if you feel pleased that you are winning the game of logic when it comes to you and your partner.

And congratulations if you're excited about winning in your relationship. Of course, you should ask at what expense? After all, to the victor goes the spoiled relationship.

If you believe that wisdom is "metabolized experience that leads to distilled compassion," how might that MEA definition relate to your relationship? In other words, how can you be wiser in your relationship?

You could notice the pattern recognition if you find yourself in one of those awful logic loops when you and your partner are trying to out-litigate each other. You could also "learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference," as the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius advised, which is just another way to paraphrase the words of William James. Focus on what matters!

So, where are you in your relationship? Are you focusing on what actually matters? As cheesy as some consider it, Gary Chapman's "The 5 Love Languages" was revelatory for Oren and me. We both have two primary love languages, but they're not the same, and then there's this errant fifth language that occasionally trips us up. Of course, you'll have to read the book to know what I'm talking about (here’s a recent NY Times story about the book).

It was thirty-three and a half years ago that I met Oren (just before “The 5 Love Languages” was written), and we had challenges along the way that led us in different directions. But, I've gotten over trying to rate Oren on my Love Languages scorecard, and I believe he's done the same. We've learned to overlook those parts of our relationship that will never be logical and may never be perfectly aligned.

The moment I realized that there was no ideal partner out there, and what was most important to me was to co-create the ideal conditions of my life with someone else, the lightbulb turned on above my head. And, of course, the relationship got better.

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