"Seek first to understand, then to be understood," is the 5th habit in Stephen Covey's book, "The 7 habits of highly effective people." If you truly want to see more peacefulness, harmony and cooperation in the world, it begins with gathering the necessary tools to do your part by becoming a skilled communicator. It is really quite simple to do, if you are willing to genuinely develop the skills to be a compassionate person. And keep in mind, that compassion is for yourself as much as it is for others since all too often we are our worst critics; the voice in our head can often be very unkind and judgmental!
This 5th Habit requires, Empathic Listening. There are two components of this skill, the first is to notice what the speaker is telling you about the topic in order to understand their thoughts and beliefs about the topic for which they are speaking. The second is to listen for their feelings about the topic. Check out this amazingly simple and useful book to gain more insights for developing good communications.
Which leads to the second aspect of the above quote, "then to be understood." Once we have listened and reflected what we heard from the speaker, we can glean more information, knowledge and/or perspective about the topic. With this new information we can then sit in the quiet spaces of our day and consider how what we heard "feels" for us personally. That is to say, consider if any part of the conversation rings true within our thoughts and beliefs. There is so much we can learn about life if we are willing to listen to another's perspective, and in the end, we will better understand ourselves. To truly understand what makes us "tick," requires we set aside time to reflect back on what we have experienced, what we were taught as children about life, relationships, and where we fit into the big scheme of life. Just be certain to be gentle and kind while doing this review in order to develop trust within yourself.
It takes a lifetime to really "Know thyself," and all too many people are not willing to set aside the time to begin self reflection. In reality, if one could set aside even five minutes in the morning and five in the evening to simply quietly sit and review their words and actions for that day would be sufficient time to begin the journey inward. Whether you're a swimmer, hiker, biker, baker or candlestick maker, gather your gear and begin that journey to the center of your being, I promise it will be worth the ten minutes each day. My hope is you discover more similarities rather than differences with those with whom you encounter.
Vicky Kelm Williams
I find people absolutely fascinating!