Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray, Ph.D.
I really enjoyed this book. Dr. Gray wrote it in an easy-to-read, simple, flowing style with many real world examples. Many times I could not help from laughing because I myself used many of the lines in his examples. It gave me a new perspective on women and how they expressed themselves.
I really identified with two sections. One was the chapter entitled, "Men Go to Their Caves and Women Talk." In it, I learned that when women are talking about their problems, they are not looking for us men to solve them; they just want us to listen. I remember thinking that some of my ex-girlfriends used to complain or nag a lot, but now realize they were simply just processing their thoughts aloud, and not asking for my advice. Then I remember many talks I have had with my mother, where I became exasperated and frustrated because she was talking about a problem at home where the solution seemed so simple. Plus, deep down, I felt responsible for her unhappiness. Understanding what Dr. Gray said made me feel quite ashamed, Here it is, my mother who has no husband or man to confide in, trusts me enough to share her problems so that she can simply feel better, yet in my ignorance and selfishness, I shut her out by being impatient and trying to solve her problems instead of just listening to her.
The other chapter I liked was called, "How to Communicate Difficult Feelings." In particular was Dr. Gray's idea to write what he coined, "Love Letters." These Love Letters are for me to express the five feelings of anger, sadness, fear, regret, and love. These specific five feelings need to be explored and expressed every time I feel upset, annoyed, sad, mad, etc. Now these letters are to be written to intimate partners, friends, family, business associates, clients, etc. I copied down his format and will be incorporating it into my journal — that way I can work through and process my thoughts and feelings whenever I am triggered by anybody for anything. I think these steps will go a long way towards me not holding resentments and understanding the thoughts and feelings of others.
These two chapters will help me to be a better communicator, good listener, and a more empathetic person.
I also believe they will help me to shift the focus of my thoughts away from myself and onto the bigger picture of everyone else around me. That knowledge and awareness will go a long way in my daily interactions with the men and women in my current community at Solano, through both A.V.P. and Peer Health.