An elder Zen monk on his pilgrimage put up in a monastery. He came across another monk who was also on the pilgrimage. The two discovered that they had much in common, and decided next morning to continue together.
They came to a river where the ferryboat had just left. The elder took a seat to wait for its return. His new friend continued however, walking over the water.
Halfway across, he turned around and beckoned the elder to follow, “You can do it, too. Just have confidence and tread on.” The elder shook his head and stayed put.
“If you are scared, I’ll help you across. You see I can do it without much trouble.” Yet again, the elder shook his head.
The other reached the other bank of the river. He waited there until the ferry had brought the elder over. “Why did you hang back like that?” he asked.
“And what have you gained by rushing like that?” replied the elder.
“Had I known what you were like, I would not have taken up company with you.”
Wishing him farewell, the elder resumed his pilgrimage on his own.
Temperament clashes exist to some extent in almost all relationships. The language of camaraderie that two people share so effortlessly at some moments can unravel at others.
Sometimes each person believes they are deliberately communicating their needs and values, when indeed little gets through because each is working from different core assumptions and expectations—conveying and interpreting language, gestures, and intent differently, or seeking a different set of signals.
Idea for Impact: Each temperament has its own language.
Each of us has our own expectations of relating in an interpersonal relationship. When there are problems, don’t always attempt to “fix” them or back off and distance yourself. Simply give the other more space to be who they are. Seek to understand.