Seek First to Understand and Then Be Understood!

Each day we encounter different people from different places that have different opinions about everything.

Have you ever been with a family member, friend, business college or an acquaintance that has very strong opinions where you clearly disagree about something? You probably go around in circles until you think this will be the last time that you will disagree with that person because clearly they do not understand your perspective. Often times the conversation escalates to the point where one person isn’t listening anymore but yelling to get their point across. Then all communication breaks down at that point and different perspectives are no longer discussed. 

So try to think about this for a minute. Just because you are never going to agree,  because you have different opinions, does not mean you “should” agree. It’s not about being right or wrong but about being aware and respectful of our differences. Communication in a respectful, calm way is the beginning to understanding others and being understood.

Is it realistic to expect other people to understand us when we are not willing to listen or understand another’s perspective?” Imagine what our world would be like if we first started our conversations based on understanding. The quote “Seek to understand and then be understood” is relevant now more than ever. There are so many fascinating ways that people live their lives from what people wear to their political philosophy to how they choose to enjoy their lives.  By choosing to understand, we can create conversations that are based on acceptance of our differences as opposed to allowing those differences to make us angry and fearful of each other.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” ― C.G. Jung

What about this: “You believe what you believe. I believe what I believe. And that’s alright. ” I believe that just because someone has a different perspective from us it doesn’t mean that we cannot try to understand where the other person is coming from. With so many people, cultures, perspectives floating around how can we all have the same opinions? If we did it would make the world pretty boring. So we can all agree to disagree but still seek to understand in a respectful way.

The key to this concept of agreeing to disagree is honest communication. I think that it is important to ask the other person why they feel the way they do. While you may not be able to change the other person’s perspective, you will be able to open your mind and understand it. Respect not only applies to people but also to beliefs. By agreeing to disagree we can respect other people’s beliefs without necessarily calling them our own.

I think that “difference” is an amazing thing and choosing to understand them can truly allow us to grow as individuals. Difference can expand our perception of what is possible.  Understanding is a mindset, it is a choice that can be challenging at times but it allows us to learn more and grow by creating more connections. Building connections helps us learn more about the world we live in. You never know what you may learn if you open your mind……………

“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

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