Almost every single individual, couple, and family I have worked with have had problems in relating to others because of this term. I personally believe that saying, “it is just common sense”, is the most ignorant sentence that could ever be muttered by any human being.
I literally want to pull my tiny hair, out of my oddly shaped head, when I hear this. In order to avoid going bald, I have decided to lead a discussion.
Let’s look at how common sense comes to be, “common sense”.
If we break the phrase down, dictionary.com states that “common” means “of frequent occurrence”, and “sense” means, “any of the faculties, as sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch, by which humans and animals perceive stimuli originating from outside or inside the body”
So common sense is, a frequent occurrence of experiences from both, inside (emotions) and outside (perception), of the body. The major difference though, is that I can have different emotions from you, experiencing the same event.
Let’s take for example walking across the street here in America. “Common sense”, tell us that we should do what?
Look both ways before crossing the street.
Use the button signals that will let us know when all of the lights on the street turn red.
Use crosswalks at major intersections.
How did this become “common sense” for you?
More than likely, your parents/guardians…
held your hand when crossing the road very tightly.
talked with you about the cars passing.
showed you the stop lights and the button signal.
warned you of the immense pain and possible death that could come from getting struck by a 2 ton car.
you perceived others utilizing these behaviors to avoid pain of getting hit.
others reacted negatively towards you if you didn’t cross the street appropriately.
They also didn’t just talk to you about this once, right? More than likely this was discussed and perceived often enough it became “common sense”.
I’m coining a new term, “common emotional experience”, for a few reasons
1.) Language is an incredible tool, which is often poorly used to change our emotional experience of reality.
Substituting this new term, for “common sense”, will assist you, and the person you’re relating to, in many different ways.
2.)Someone you are trying to resolve a relationship issue with, will become significantly less defensive when resolving a conflict.
No longer will this term feel like a personal attack on their intelligence or validity in their perspective of reality.
3.)You will be able to relate to this person much easier, because you recognize it isn’t that they lack the intelligence or comprehension to understand your perspective, or their own.
We can connect easier with one another, when we can empathize and understand someone else’s emotions behind their behavior. This also allows the other person to better understand your emotions and behavior too.
4.) You have now built rapport and made a stronger emotional bond with this person.
This person will now feel better understood by you, and they will better understand you. This will lubricate the gears of working with you in the future, even when there is a misunderstanding or disagreement.
5.) The assumptions that you were formulating about this person’s character, have now been destroyed, allowing you to think more rationally and effectively towards a solution.
This begins to put us in a defensive and blaming mode of operating, which perpetuates the cycle of arguing. This cycle also destroys any opportunity to create understanding and constructive discussion.