I’m going to be honest with you.
When I saw Eric Edmeades talking at A-fest, Ibiza about how evolution has programmed men and women differently to communicate in a relationship, I was quite shocked. In fact, I felt slightly provoked.
I am not like every other woman — I said to myself with pride as he described how women talk and express their needs. But it got me thinking. And by the end, I understood what he really meant.
Average differences do exist between men and women. Masculin and feminine characteristics all lie on a bell curve where some tend to be true for most men and others for most women. If you’re an outlier, you might simply not resonate with it.
But if we understand these differences that the evolution of our consciousness has cultivated over tens of thousands of years, we begin to see why communication is the number one challenge for most couples and parents.
Eric Edmeades travelled to Africa to spend time with bushmen in local tribes, isolated from modern civilization. He observed how they live their life from the moment they wake up till the time they go back to sleep and discovered that the way we live, love, and communicate doesn’t seem to change that much even with our modern, metropolitan lifestyle.
This is exactly what led to his fascinating discoveries about how relationships with our partners and kids have evolved over generations.
Here are 5 thought-provoking lessons I learned from Eric about the evolution of parenting and relationships. You can find the full A-fest talk at the bottom of this article.
1. Stop Trying To Protect Your Children From Everything
There was a time in human history when child security wasn’t a thing. In fact, living in the wild, there was a 50-50 chance of death or survival for our offsprings. The first child was often called the “first litter” in the animal kingdom and in human tribes alike. The world just wasn’t as safe as it is now.
Today, we do whatever it takes to protect our children from everything that caused us pain in our childhood. As we recover from our wounds, we try to do the exact opposite to our children and tell them what to do in order to avoid our mistakes at all costs. There’s just one little problem.
It won’t work.
It might be hard to see our kids go through tough times and to be at peace with it. But if you think about it, the best lessons you learnt in life come from the mistakes you made and the times that required you to stay strong. And your children deserve to make their own decisions too and figure out later if it was the right thing to do.
On the other hand, sharing your experience with them is a wonderful thing to do but only if you tell them what you think, not what they should do.
Share your opinion with them through examples they can relate to and step back to see how they decide. This way, they will know you respect their freedom and will continue asking you for advice — even when it’s uncomfortable.
2. Find The Right Way To Do The Sex-Talk
In a lot of families, sex is a taboo: when you mention “the forbidden word” at the dinner table, the whole room ends up in awkward silence. And then there are parents who go into so many details that they traumatize their kids before they even ask about the big topic.
So how much is too much?
According to Eric Edmeades, every parent should find the fine line between zero communication and embarrassing moments. Once you know where this line is for your children, you can warn them when it’s coming and ask for their permission to explain something that might not be easy to digest.
Once you do, empower them with thoughts that help them develop healthy boundaries.
3. Women Talk, Men Exchange Information
Most women tend to have a bigger need to be listened to than the opposite sex. We, women tend to share our problems and feelings as a sign of trust but we don’t necessarily need to hear a solution at that moment. I’m going to repeat that again.
We don’t need a solution. We need an ear.
This might be hard to accept for some men, especially if they enjoy being the hero for their women. But there is an interesting explanation for it that Eric has noticed when he lived with a tribe in rural Africa.
When women sat around the fire, there was a constant chatter in their circle. They seemed to talk constantly and make noise so that they keep away wild animals, especially when their men were away and could not protect them.
In the men’s circle, there was only one person talking at a time (usually the alpha male), sharing information and strategies for hunting. After the important stuff had been told, the discussion was over.
Could this be the reason why men focus on facts and women want to talk it out? Maybe.
But it doesn’t mean that all men, women, and everyone else on the spectrum would always communicate either way. It simply teaches us an interesting lesson: If we know the purpose behind our words, it will be easier to express our real needs and feel heard by our partners.
4. Don’t Argue With Emotions
Sometimes, we communicate in absolute terms like you always say this or you never do that. These are facts which, in the majority of cases, are simply not true. The reason we say this is because we share feelings — not statistics.
If we blame our partners for everything, we not only make them feel bad but we also put them into a position where they need to defend themselves. We can avoid this by starting our sentences with:
I feel that…
This makes it clear that we are talking about how we feel and not trying to blame them or count their mistakes. Feelings can’t be argued with because they are just simply what they are: feelings.
Recognizing this opens up a way to resolving small issues before they turn into gigantic fights with our partners.
5. Change Your Relationship Persona
When we try to fix the relationship we’re in or look for the perfect one, we often look for a solution outside of ourselves. In most cases, though, change has to start with us.
We need to become that person who is the other half of our ideal partner. We need to grow and forgive in order to break our own patterns and build a character that the person we love can admire.
It is our responsibility to give up the things that don’t serve us anymore, to create new habits, and set our own agreements with ourselves first.
Envision yourself in the future and ask yourself the question: If I’m in the relationship of my dreams, how did I achieve it? What were the actions that led me there?
This way, you can define your new relationship persona and build harmony with the person in your life, or the one that’s yet to come.
Watch the full A-fest talk with Eric Edmeades
Eric Edmeades is a serial entrepreneur, business speaker, and author, who’s passionate about helping people create an exceptional life for themselves. Eric has given this captivating talk at Mindvalley’s A-fest and transported the audience into the wild with a guided visualization.
Here’s Eric’s full speech about the evolution of relationships and parenting.
What’s the one thing you think everyone should know about relationships and parenting? Share it with us in a comment below!