Blog #83 Seek to Understand Rather Than to Be Understood

Posted on : 12-06-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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So sayeth St. Francis (seek to understand rather than to be understood). I’ve been thinking a whole lot about this concept after a weekend attending a conference as a delegate for a 12-step program that I am a long-time participant.

When I feel passionately about something, often times my whole body gets into the scene and it is very hard for me to calmly listen to anyone with an opposing view from mine. But I know from experience that when my body is like a live wire ready to go to battle for what I believe in, that I need to listen carefully and try to understand the opposing view point(s) before I speak or take action. I could be wrong. I very often misunderstand.

A few years ago I was an Associate Partner for a small technical company for ten years. During the first year, I recruited the person who would become my professional partner for ten years. She is still someone that I consider one of my best friends and we both would love the opportunity to work together again. I’m sharing this with you because woo-boy! there were times during that first year, or when we were under stressful deadlines, when we would go head-to-head with each other about an issue. Both of us feeling strongly convicted about our points of view. Thank God we had a great team working with us who had the courage to say to us that we were both saying the same thing, only coming at it from different ways.

That made a huge impression on me. It opened up my understanding that perhaps our world is more expansive than just being a dualistic environment. For instance, if you could pop out the thought process and intentions of this partner and me into a holographic sphere, you would probably see exactly what our friend said to us. You’d see my friend coming from point A and me coming from point B and both of us heading towards point C–just from different perspectives.

How many battles and wars have we all fought since the beginning of time because we misunderstood? I’m beginning to wonder now that if, perhaps, I get into a turf war for being right and wrong again and feel frustrated, that perhaps that frustrated feeling is a sign that I am misunderstanding rather than feeling rejected for being misunderstood?

Anyway, I’m by no means finished with this lesson for sure but I’m glad to get it out here in the open to look at and hear about your experience, strength and hope on the subject.

I want to understand you!