Saturday 17 May 2014

DSTSS - directions to a higher power

28.  Seek first to understand

After doing a fair bit of reading about this chapter, i felt that in order to understand what the hell it meant, i first had to seek...

I know that sounds backwards, but to put it simply, how can i choose to understand something, if i haven't bothered to take the time to give due attention to what it is I am being told.

The message in number 28 leans towards empathy. I have had a fair bit of conflict over the past coupla months (which has now thankfully died down) and each time there was some issue, it seemed that what was important, was for someone to have their say, without really being part of a constructive conversation.  The ego of self soon becomes the biggest part of a conversation.

When i have had conversations (often negative ones and often with those closest to me) it often ends up with no one listening to what is actually being said.  We sometimes "listen" as a token gesture to have that moment where we can then blurt out what it is that we want to say, not what needs to be said in order to gain understanding.  How frustrating!

So back to empathy and not sweating the small stuff - do we really listen to what someone else is saying or take note of how that other person may be feeling - well, not often enough according to my book. Upon having a difficult conversation, do we take that next step to really feel what it must be like to be walking in their shoes, or feeling the way they do - well not often enough, according to my book.

One of my biggest learnings in life has been that we never really know what is causing someone to do what it is they are doing that seems to annoy us. I really think that part of my calm demeanor is that I understand that everyone has their own story, whether I know what it is or not, whether i agree with it or not and understanding that takes a lot of pressure off - particularly off myself.   What if that annoying person is just like me - what if they have "stuff" going on that we don't know about, but if we chose to understand, it may make a difference to how we react.

I can never know how someone else really feels or thinks, without first listening and then putting myself in their place.

So back to empathy.   i did rip this little quote off from somewhere, but i think it's a nice way to explain this chapter.

Seeking to understand takes kindness;
Seeking to be understood takes courage;
Effectiveness lies in balancing the two.

Just to be sure i really understood the message, i decided to ask directions for seek first to understand, and sure enough, it led me to universal truths, - and i aint gonna argue with a higher power!
Note to self: If someone has the courage to say something difficult to me, i need to listen with kindness, not with ego. And if i have the courage to have a difficult conversation with someone, then i hope they will reply with kindness, not ego, that way, we should be able to understand what the situation is, not what we think it is.

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