I have frequently talked about how we use language to our advantage and sometimes to our disadvantage. In this piece, I am using the word understanding in a feeling way, not an intellectual way. I am talking about understanding, or showing understanding, to other people.
Over the years I have learned that sometimes people won’t agree with me and I understand they have the right to that and I don’t need to get upset about it. I just need to try to understand how they feel and where they are coming from. If I try to understand how the other person feels or where they are coming from, then our interaction is going to be quite different than if I only focus on my own position.
I try to understand where others are coming from in my job, partly because it’s a necessary part of counseling, but also because it’s a necessary part to having a good relationship with anyone. Whether it’s personal or professional, when we can show understanding to other people, we are more likely to receive the same. Understanding seems to be somewhat of a lost art with people today. When I was growing up, it was impressed upon me that I needed to be understanding of others. As I looked around, it didn’t always seem like people were very understanding of me at times. As I became an adult, I started to get it.
Sometimes, we aren’t in the best place to be understanding of others. We may just not have it in us at that particular moment. That’s when we hope the other person has it in them to understand us! Understanding is a two way thing. Ideally, we hope that everyone is in a place to be understanding of others, but the fact of the matter is that’s not often in the case. As long as one of the people involved can be understanding, things have a much better chance of working out okay in the end.
As human beings in general, what would the world look like if we were more understanding of others? We certainly don’t have to be like anyone else and they don’t have to be like us. Why does it seem so difficult to allow others to be who they are and just try to understand where they are coming from? We certainly appreciate it when others accept us just the way we are and hopefully, try to understand us and not expect us to be different to fit someone else’s view of how we should be.
Understanding doesn’t mean agreeing, it simply means accepting. It is not that we are saying something that goes against what we believe is suddenly alright with us, but it does show that we are trying to show respect to everyone and that goes along way in any relationship. I don’t agree with every situation of every client or friend that I have, but I am willing to understand where they are coming from and respect their decisions and positions.
Give understanding a chance and see if it makes a positive impact on your personal and professional relationships!