The Magic of Understanding

We can all agree that it’s very difficult to foster productive, meaningful relationships at work, at home, or in the community without effective communication.  

By the same token, it’s nearly impossible to communicate effectively, with anyone, without some level of understanding.

Thought for the week: Intentionally seeking to understand, in any situation, magically transforms:

  • Heated arguments into conversations
  • Mere acquaintances into meaningful relationships
  • Bad days into better days

You and I both experience frustrating conversations at home and at work.  

How often is the person sitting across the table from us – whether at the dinner table or at a meeting in the conference room – completely on a different page than we are?  

We receive emails or phone calls from people making their points, sharing their opinions, and oftentimes drawing lines in the sand.  Coworkers, bosses, friends, or even the people we care about or love the most often share their opinions.  

Sometimes we agree.  Sometimes we don’t.

What about those times when we don’t agree; when we’re frustrated with a problem, a teammate, a friend, a loved one, or a rather annoying situation?  

We tend to react, getting even more frustrated, even more disappointed, and soon we lose faith in them or any possibility of ever reaching an agreement.

Too often we miss understanding, and when we do, we miss out on the very magic that understanding creates.

Misunderstandings cause arguments and hurt feelings, which lead to failed relationships.  The irony is that if we want to make a positive difference in the lives of those around us at home or at work, we can’t miss understandings.  

Empathy changes everything

The extent to which we ask questions to learn more about why the person across the table feels the way they do, we begin to engage in fruitful conversation, which leads to understanding.

  • When we find it in our hearts to empathize with them and whatever may be going on in their own life – possible heartbreak, stress, or fear – we understand their situation.  All of a sudden, we begin to show them compassion rather than our frustration, and our compassion leads us to new realms of understanding
  • When we meet them where they are, if we are interested in them, their thoughts, expertise, and opinions, we find that our disappointment turns into opportunity. We gain a better understanding of the situation and how we can collaborate, and reach a mutually beneficial outcome, together.
  • When we deploy empathy, we all have better days.  We experience the magic of understanding…

Have a great day.

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