Everything in the universe is related and so are we, humankind. We are related to everything and everybody; we are a part of nature itself. That of course might be argued as a physical thing and we can’t navigate through life by purely physical means. We need to be able to relate and to do that we must be able to understand. Being understood is something we all desire if we’re perfectly honest but how can we be understood if we don’t understand our fellow human travellers?
Listening to words is one part of the equation but the words alone don’t offer the full picture. We also need to listen for feelings to understand the real meaning behind the words.
The thing about listening is that it’s something we must really want to do. We need to do it with gratitude for what we hear, and intense, honest listening can bring awareness of what’s on the minds of others. If you are thinking about something they said 30-seconds ago and they’re still talking, chances are you’re not listening. You are too busy thinking about what they said and how to respond. You just missed something crucial. Listening is a skill; it takes practice, possibly training too depending on what you do.
Understanding someone deeply will enable you to feel more respect toward them; it’s as though they have offered you a glimpse of their soul.
Here’s a real example. Miss G was asking a lot of nutrition related questions in a forum. Specifically searching for ways to improve some difficult health challenges. I asked for some clarification and in private messaging and Skype calls she told me her story; almost her entire life-story and it had been exceptionally challenging both physically and emotionally. I listened without judgment and noted only her words and phrases. Once she had finished, I followed up a few of her points for clarification and together we made an outline plan for an assessment session to enable me to decide who was best equipped to work with Miss G; myself or my business partner.
Clearly this example may not fit your skills or experience, but the principle is the same whatever you do.
A few kilometers from home there is a very “nice” cycle store that sells everything I might ever need or want for my mountain bike passion. Products are priced and beautifully laid out but there is no information relating to any of the products. So, I politely tested the store owner by asking a few pertinent questions about mountain bike groupsets and I was careful not to give away that I knew anything about the subject. Cheeky really because I already knew the answers; it was just research.
He pointed to the relevant area of the shop, “everything I have is over there”. Although polite, he was unable or unwilling to offer any knowledge or opinion by listening to or recognizing my dilemma between two brands. Had I been looking to purchase something; I would have gone elsewhere. This guy was not willing to change his thinking to help a potential customer.
If we are to change our relationships with others, we need to change ourselves first; particularly our perceptions by looking at ourselves and understanding what it was that made us realize we need to change. By accepting the challenge to change and recognizing the need for it, we can improve our mind patterns and the fundamental fabric of our thoughts which form our character and personality. Recognizing the need for change is half the battle.
Carefully watching our attitudes and behaviors can easily bring about minor changes but if we want to make 10X leaps we need to explore our most basic ideas and work on them. It takes time but every journey starts with a single step before it becomes a summers’ day walk on the beach.
Humans have an awesome capacity for self-awareness which enables us to see ourselves from the outside as others sometimes see us. The difference between ourselves and the way others see us is that we are generally kinder to ourselves because we know our entire story.
The reality is that we are not our thoughts, feelings or moods. Think about it; we can think about those things which in itself makes us separate from them. Our reality affects our behavior, attitudes and how we see other people and respond to their realities. Self-awareness becomes our map of human nature and we interpret our experiences through our mental maps. Choosing how to respond to circumstances powerfully affects our own circumstances. Some call it karma and it’s not something “out there”, it’s within you and we always reap what we sow.
A Few Tips
- Don’t rationalize for other people’s shortcomings
- Don’t rationalize for your own
- Keep a diary of your thoughts, experiences and insights; it promotes mental clarity
- Reading exposes us to great minds
- Write a personal mission statement. What are the values and principles that inform your actions?
What Fueled This Post
One comment I read on a blog relating to the way a person responded to something said by another and that also reminded me of something Albert Einstein said,
“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them”.
Does any of this fit your reality?
Comments and Questions
Please leave yours below. Your thoughts or questions may well ignite a positive spark in another readers thinking. You will always receive a prompt response to your questions and there is no such thing as a bad question; only the one that was never asked.
I hope you have a wonderful day
Peace & Light
Steve Costello is a British Community & Youth Studies and Psychology honors graduate with over 30-years theoretical and practical experience in the Personal Development public and private sectors. He founded ExGro in 2018 with business partner, friend and clinical psychologist, Leo Faerberg.