If you want to know a person, seek to understand them. We all want to feel like we are, at the very least, being heard so someone can understand where we are coming from. Isn’t this why we continue to argue our case and make our point known? Yet in our efforts to make our point we often don’t extend the same to others. Our need to be right, our need to hold tight to our point of view and our need to bolster our sense of self keeps us from the very things we desire: to be understood and to feel a sense of connection with others.
How can we demand someone understand us when we do not strive to understand others? We can’t demand what we ourselves are not willing and capable of doing.
So, if you would like to know someone, seek to understand them.
Start with the people closest to you. The people you actually want around in your life. It’s easier to start with these people as you already have a genuine desire to really get to know them. Begin with the simple act of listening. Not what you are currently doing as listening, but begin to listen with you whole mind and heart. That means clear your mind of your own inner dialogue and judgments while they are speaking in order to actually hear what they are attempting to reveal to you. You can’t understand someone if all you have in your mind is a list of ways to dismiss what they have to say. If you really want to know someone, get curious and listen to them completely. This may take some practice at first but in time this will become much easier.
Remember, leave judgement behind. You can’t possibly know what led a person to where they are, with the decisions they are facing and the life events they find themselves in at any moment. All of us have gone down some rocky roads at some point in our life and only wanted someone, anyone, to understand and accept us for who and where we were in that moment. This is an example of what love looks like every day. A genuine desire to understand and accept where people are, not to judge, shame or kick them when they are down.
As you become more comfortable with this new style of listening, you will start to notice a few things. First, you will begin to gain a better understanding of people. You’ll see what they want from life, what they value in the world and what makes them tick. Secondly, as you have a greater understanding of someone, you will find yourself naturally compassionate toward them. You may also find they trust you more as a byproduct. And this could lead to them wanting to understand you better. Now that you have given them an example of what understanding looks like in practice, they too can start to listen to you with the goal of understanding.
If you find this helpful or know someone who needs to hear topics like these, please be sure to share. Be a life changer. You never know what may change the course of someone’s life.