Real understanding is more than just listening. In most ways, it’s like empathy at its purest form.

One of the greatest obstacles to real understanding is having to face some of our own fears. You have to leave your pride behind because you can’t be afraid of the other person’s point being different from your own. Sometimes we’re afraid of what the other person thinks or feels about us. This has been a challenge to me through most of my life.

Obviously, the first step is listening to the whatever person. However, another major hurdle to understanding is, really knowing what’s gone on before the moment you’re trying to understand that’s caused the other person to think, feel or act the way they do.

The reason this is so hard for most of us is that it requires stepping outside of our own “bubble” that we see the world from and actually developing a real knowledge of how & why another person feels they way they do.

Sure, understanding can lead us to changing our own point of view, too. For some people, this is an inner fear. Especially if there’s a chance they could be proven wrong somehow. But once we can really see things from another person’s perspective we can add that to what we’ve always seen from ours. If it helps us to learn & grow, that’s a good thing!

Real understanding rarely comes quickly. It takes time and at first, a lot of effort. Like anything else, it comes easier as you practice.

There are times when we totally fall down when it comes to having understanding. Usually when emotions like frustration or anger are high. Obviously, if you can cool off or wait for a calmer time, you will be able to address the situation with more of a clear understanding than when you’re feeling passionate about something.

Understanding is an essential part of all relationships – working relationships and friendships… but where it really matters and where it’s the most difficult, is in a loving relationship with a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend and your children.

Real understanding may not be easy… but once you get it, it will be very well worth your effort & patience.


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