We usually hear about the importance of resolving arguments with empathy and perspective for the other person described as "there are two sides to every coin," or "what would it be like if the shoe was on the other foot?"

What about thinking about the shoe itself in that metaphor?

Today we have a pretty flawless, thorough way to look at the process of forgiving a woman who's (maybe) done you wrong, and a way to really amplify your own gains in personal growth in the process.

I call it, "The Five Shoes" to forgiving a woman (and being forgiven.) And you can forget about trying on the same old shoe. Women love shoes so let's try out FIVE instead!

Narcissism and Personal Growth

I'm sure you have known people who "feel like the world owe them" or think there is "such a thing as a free lunch." Well in thinking about this article I am reminded of a person I once knew who felt as if "the world owes them," but it gets better. They also thought the world owes them a convincing argument about WHY it owes them. And... on top of that they think the world should be put on notice that it better tell them its reasons for owing them in a timely and accurate way. Oh, and it had better inform them at a day, time and place that fits the schedule.

This is called pathological narcissism, and while an extreme case, it's useful to know that all humans have at least a little bit of it, anywhere on the spectrum from putting number one first, all the way to this example on the other end.

Did I mention the person in question was a woman? Usually, you find in idle conversation that men are often the most demonized regarding forgiveness and needing forgiven.

I left that out on purpose. We often assume that because the genders think and communicate differently that perhaps they don't feel just as hurt or insulted when let down. Not true. Obviously both men and women have emotions - it's just that men may in general be a little less expressive, or not use the kind of language women do.

Both men and women are susceptible to pathological narcissism equally, and it can pay off in a big way to both be able to spot it in others, but even more useful to spot it in ourselves.

Recognizing narcissism is covered in great depths in the MindOS Mastery Program at www.menspsychology.com.

The method?

Projection.

Projection

When we really detest another person, it's easy to let them go, or feel we've won an argument even when we haven't - or to justify rude or mean behavior toward them. Often, some of us have a problem accepting praise just as much, and we say to a compliment, "Oh you shouldn't have. I'm really not that great."

Both of these are sides of the same coin, of projection that I also talk about in the MindOS Mastery Program.

What is often far more useful to know is that when we feel strong feelings positive or negative about another person, it's also pretty frequent that we are "projecting" onto them, especially if we have work to do on our boundaries also covered in MindOS (we all have work to do on that, all through life.)

What this means is that when we dislike a person without knowing the full details of who they are, what they think, how they feel, where they've been and what they know, we "fill in the gaps in the story" by projecting OUR OWN ideas, experiences and life's events ONTO them.

For those we dislike, we take something we dislike about ourselves or our lives, and PLACE it ONTO them. For example, the bad behavior of ex boyfriends and girlfriends.

For those we consider admired heroes, or even strangers who compliment us, we reject the praise, and deny the heroic in ourselves because it feels more comfortable to let others lead, and we avoid the responsibility that comes with leadership and heroism.

We idolize those who are similar to us in many ways, and who's role we could someday take on.

Five Shoes

Which leads us to the five shoes.

Because of pathological narcissism and this effect of projection, it's not good enough to just "empathize" with others when we feel they have done wrong. True forgiveness will only come out of looking at five different shoes for BOTH of us to try on.

Here they are:

1. Her psychology in the disagreement

2. Your own psychology in the disagreement

3. Her outside stresses in the disagreement

4. Your outside stresses in the disagreement

5. Both of your communication ability, amount, and the "two feet" to try out

Two Feet, Narcissism, Empathy and Self-respect

Certainly you have heard of a person saying, "I can't give in or agree to this because it would show no self-respect." In other words, people want to keep arguing for fear that they will disrespect themselves. But if you look closer at the situation, they are really facing the dilemma I always talk about (and is in MindOS Mastery) called, "Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?"

What this really means is that when we strive to "put the shoe on the other foot," we are fighting against our own narcissism, and seeing the other person as human, trying to get along in life the same as we are. To resist this is part of being pathologically narcissistic. A person who feels they must fight just to fight, and win at any cost, even our mutual happiness lost, if necessary.

Yet it is also very true that both women and men disrespect themselves and subject themselves to wrongful treatment or even harm when they just surrender or give in so as to make peace - to "not rock the boat."

Instead of being right, I like using the word, "Honor." To honor yourself. Doing so doesn't have to mean "winning" a fight, or "being right." It could be in walking away, or accepting that the other person just doesn't understand. Or even accepting that you don't understand the other person. To be a man of honor is to be attractive, competent, mature, and effective at life. You also make a lot of lifelong friends that way - other men to be on the same missions in life as your own.

So it is true you need to honor yourself by stopping other peoples' narcissism at the door of your life, yet at the same time, recognize that you can do wrong too, misunderstand too, and be wrong too.

There is a way to resolving all this, since it is ALSO honoring yourself to recognize that in stressful times, you can make a mistake that is worthy of forgiveness too - both by the other person, and TOWARD yourself.

One "foot" to try on shoes is EMPATHY. This protects you from BEING narcissistic. The other "foot" is HONOR of yourself. This protects you from the narcissism of OTHERS.

The Five Shoes and Being Happy

1. Her Psychology - The First Shoe

What if she is a Femme Fatale, a "bad seed," just as you suspected, and "shouldn't be forgiven." Even if that's true, there are five whole shoes to try on, so at worst, you are only covering twenty percent of possible explanations for what is happening in your argument. Is that good enough to say - make a decision about a marriage, about a job, about kids?

I hope not.

And even if he definitely WAS wrong, there is a characteristic thinking of narcissism (on our side) to think in "black and white." In other words, once a bad partner, always a bad partner. Not true. Because people DO change. What you want to make sure of instead about a woman is that she is hopelessly narcissistic - a not-to-be-trusted ship passing in the night - but also unwilling and unlikely to CHANGE.

I once wrote another article on the single trait of a good mate - that CURIOSITY is crucial in them. Because of curiosity about human behavior, people CAN change, but if they are not curious, they cannot.

We go deep into recognizing projection, boundaries, and pathological narcissism in others in MindOS Mastery, and specifically in love, dating, marriage, and courtship in the Omega Male Program

2. Your Psychology - The Second Shoe

Which brings us to the second shoe - your own psychology. If you are more invested in being right than happy, or being right than honoring yourself and doing the right thing, then there are areas of boundary to grow in yourself before a solid relationship is going to work.

It's easy to keep things as they are, not be curious about your own inner workings, projection, boundaries and the like, and settle into being right about "bad people" who hurt your feelings.

It's comfortable, and understandable for most of us why we settle for that. It's also understandible if yours is a stressful life (another shoe to try on.)

But it won't see you growing toward getting what you want.

3. Her Stress - The Third Shoe

The third shoe.

What we don't often consider in others (at least as forgiving as we can be toward ourselves) is the stress and challenges they are under.

People have a tendency to "regress" under pressure - meaning to revert to a more primitive, immature mode of dealing with life when under stress.

We are often quick to judge people in their person, their identity of who they are as behind their behavior, before considering the all important CONTEXT.

"They're bad to the bone" we say.

If you didn't know she lost her job that day, or was robbed (and didn't say anything because she didn't want to scare you), or suddenly remembered her long-gone dad and missed him (but also didn't tell you because it's she didn't want his memory to one-up you), would that change how you feel over a fight about the drycleaning?

I hope so.

Let's "not make mountains out of molehills" as they say, all because of this projection thing - this "filling in the gaps in stories" with our own narrative.

4. Your Stress - the Fourth Shoe

The fourth shoe.

Some people are good at honoring themselves over this item, and quick to forgive themselves. Others, maybe surprisingly to you, are not. They are the first to take on blame as the cause of the argument. This is often seen in women in domestic abuse. Yet if you consider that men have emotions too, many a man would agree it's just as common for a man to "be abused" emotionally in a relationship and never tell a soul.

That's why it's not in the news, a tragedy.

Part of why we sometimes do that, is that in an uncontrollable or truly hostile environment, taking on blame gives us a sense of CONTROL. Which is also narcissistic, just passively, silently so. You'll see in MindOS Mastery how to spot this in yourself and in men who are the "shy, quiet, artist type." It's insidious, so you need to spot it even though it's passive and secret.

Still, whether you are more upfront or shy, you need to honor yourself when you contribute to a fight - by once again looking at context. Forgive yourself before forgiving or seeking forgiveness from others.

When you are in stress, you are not at your best. Explain this to the other person, and then do not stop there. Make moves to GET YOURSELF OUT OF STRESS. It's your job to do so as a good partner, friend, lover, sibling, parent or adult child.

We talk all about stress in MindOS Mastery.

5. Both of Your Communication Ability, Degree, and Empathy - the Fifth Shoe

This can be the real heartbreaker in a relationship that unknown to both people, could have been the best thing EVER. They just didn't realize there were four other shoes to try on each foot - the foot of empathy against narcissism, and the foot of honor against narcissism in others.

Sometimes, there is a perfectly good man who is under stress, and a perfectly good woman who is under stress, who get in an argument and don't realize it is both of their stress talking - confusing the communication, shutting it down, and on top of all that, not seeing the very different communication styles between men and women.

Then they put the hate on each other, and fight, and blame, and say things they really, really might regret...

...or worse, say or do things they may NEVER KNOW ARE REGRETTABLE.

That is the real tragedy.

It's one of the reasons that not only in the methods of MindOS Mastery we can learn about boundaries, narcissism, projection, stress, and self-esteem, but that in the Omega Male Program on all of human courtship we can learn about the very different communication styles between men and women.

So that LOVE comes out of argument, and solutions arise in friendship.

The way things have gone for you up to now really didn't have to be that way when we have this depth of understanding.

So remember the two feet" of forgiveness - the empathy against your own narcissism, and the honoring of yourself that is against the narcissism of others.

THEN try out all five shoes on BOTH of these feet - Her psychology, Your psychology, Her stress, Your stress, and the Quality of the Communication between you - the understanding of how women and men are different.

You can't lose then, and anything you do next as a result of yoru disagreement will feel solid, and right, and free...

...which also leads to lasting forgiveness even if you aren't together.

It's all in MindOS Mastery (on personal growth) and the Omega Male Program (for everything on attraction, love, dating, marriage, and courtship.)

Author's Bio: 

Paul Dobransky, M.D. is a board-certified psychiatrist, public speaker and relationship expert who has treated more than 10,000 patients in 15+ years in clinical psychiatric care. Journalists and clients worldwide have sought Dr. Paul's advice on dating, relationships and all aspects of human psychology.

Dr. Paul pioneered MindOS, a new, patent-pending approach to understanding relationships, mood problems and stress. MindOS synthesizes all schools of therapy into a single, effective system-based approach that uses plain language to help people understand psychology and solve problems. Go to http://www.menspsychology.com/ to learn more.