Seek first to understand then to be understood.
What a simple phrase and even a simple action. So why is it that we all have such a problem putting the idea of seeking to understand someone before we get to say what’s on our mind in practice? Let me opine…
We all long to be understood and many if not most of us feel everyone around us is obligated to oblige our own sense of self-worth. We think in terms of, “Well they have known me so long they should already understand what I mean before I say it.” –Or- “It’s just common sense… why would they behave this way to me when everyone knows it’s not right.” This type of thinking is common in almost every aspect of our adult lives. However, it becomes much more exaggerated when dealing with our significant others.
I am sure we all want better relationships. However, not all of us are willing to do the work that is required to have more meaningful and deeper relationships. This is because following that simple phrase mentioned in the beginning takes a great deal of mental and emotional effort to apply. The idea of bettering ourselves in terms of our interpersonal relationships usually doesn’t occur to us until we find we are having issues with someone. Then the better of us look to find ways to overcome the barriers that cause dysfunction in the relationship. However, by this time it is often a much more difficult task. Being proactive in a relationship makes all the difference. Working to understand the others point of view before it becomes a problem allows you the ability to put out fires before they have had a chance to burn. This makes it much easier to manage all our relationships.
How do we go about learning the other person’s perspective? This is the simple part. We maintain open and honest communication. Communication is essential to the success of any relationship. We thrive on the ability to share our feelings, fears, dreams, and ideas with another living soul. Therefore, in order to understand the other person’s perspective we must ask them about who they are and what goals they desire to attain.
This very simple concept is often left out of our daily lives and even more so it is left out of the relationships that we hold most dear. This is true because inevitably we take our relationships for granted. In order to overcome taking relationships for granted we must start by really looking at the people in our life and focus on them when conversing. This attitude will enable us to apply greater focus leading to a greater understanding of the individual. Now we can begin to see what makes this person tick and the only thing we did was to shift our focus from ourselves to the other individual.
Once we understand their perspective we can better tailor our own message, needs or whatever to the person we want to understand us. Now we have a situation where we understand the other person and we are enabled to better understand how to deliver our needs to them. Yet another benefit of this idea of understanding the other person first allows for an easier time of communication which makes the whole reoccurring process much easier.
In the coming posts I will discuss some great ideas on the topic of the relationships of significant others. There is a unique and effective way to better understand our significant other.