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Why is it so difficult to be in a relationship?

Why all the unnecessary conflict and repetitive misunderstandings? Why do we have this constant frustration from being misunderstood, being misheard, like no body’s really listening or taking us into consideration?
I’ve been there.

‘We only have one life; we might as well make the most of it’

Susanna Persson

In N.L.P. we say, ‘the map is not the territory’, what does this mean exactly?


This analogy intends to show us that the map is the internal representation that each person has of the world and the territory is the world as it really is.


Each person being unique, he has his own view of the world (or map of the world) and the latter is different from one person to another. There is only one territory but countless maps: the map is not the territory. We are indeed unique human beings each carrying our own baggage.


Since birth most of us have received an education (without forgetting those of us that haven’t), some have had parents instilling their values into them, we’ve been through challenging times, had experiences and felt emotions that have shaped us into who we are today with our own set of beliefs and values. Depending on those experiences, we have learnt to put behavioural mechanisms and coping strategies in place.

For example, a father might well say to his child: ‘if you work hard at school you’ll get good marks, be able to go off to University, get a great job and you will succeed in life’.

Another example, a different father might say: ‘it doesn’t matter what you choose to do in life, the most important thing is your happiness’.


One could argue the vast difference in these examples is purely based on each fathers’ different values and beliefs, which are direct consequences of their education, history and contrasting life experiences. We can now easily see how complicated relationships can be and how barriers in understanding each other can form.


Trying to tell someone the way they think and what they say is wrong or bad often doesn’t get us anywhere, usually it’s quite the opposite, it just creates conflict. The other person in the argument will of course defend their position because they’re just advocating for the values and beliefs they’ve always lived by.


What is crucial here is to each explain to the other what they feel is important, so that their values and beliefs can be respected.

Of course, it’s easier said than done, especially when emotions are flying high!

I would recommend you think about this from time to time and remember that we haven’t all had the same experiences in life and therefore do not all share the same values and beliefs.

This will help you to understand each other better and could avoid unnecessary conflicts with harmful consequences.

Try and understand another person’s differences, just as you would like them to accept and understand yours.

Give it a go! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!