how well do you get along with others

Even little toddlers have such a desire for not only approval but actual understanding. My son used to call out to me saying, “Daddy, look at this”, in an effort to get my attention. I began to notice that when he is trying to tell me something and he didn’t think I was understanding him, he’d correct me and continue to try explaining his point to the best of his ability, pointing, waving his hands and eagerly gesturing with his entire body.

One of the most basic of all of our needs is the need to be understood. It’s one thing to be heard… as in, another person can hear our words being spoken, but what we still need is true understanding. To matter. To feel meaningful and important to another. To not have our feelings and sensitivities discounted, but instead, understood and acknowledged.

It’s the reason why we seek long-term relationships. Friendships and courtships that lack this ingredient are not healthy and typically do not last. Those that do last are usually considered abusive with one person in the couple being submissive and staying in the relationship out of a deeper fear.

True understanding is something that never comes naturally to people – we have to work at it, we have to invest in it. It’s an investment that has a tremendous payoff, but many are intimidated by the effort required.

  • What is true understanding of another person?
  • What are the benefits of such an accomplishment?
  • How do we gain that understanding?
  • Is understanding another person the same as comprehending them?
  • What about reflective listening?
  • What are the challenges to true understanding?



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  1. Hello! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  2. […] We all have a need for approval, acceptance and understanding. That need is usually at its highest at the times we’re seeking advice on a matter. After all, who wants to talk to their friend about a situation only to feel like they think we’re off our rocker? So, we tend to weigh the picture we paint for those we seek advice from, in our own favor. It’s human nature and any person who honestly, really hasn’t ever done this should be nominated for Sainthood! […]

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  4. I worry about the whole I married my mother/father thing because I had a great normal childhood but my husband did not-he was abused and still has a dysfunctional relationship with his mom at the age of dad committed suicide years ago. So, what does that say about me if he doesn’t have a good relationship with his mom Also, this is his ndand LASTmarriage. Maybe he figured out his parents’ model didn’t work and chose someone not like her, me. Please tell me that’s the case, or a possibility. For my own sanity. ha

    • Gry, thanks for your comment. It's hard to say if your husband chose someone like his mother – do you feel that you're like her? While there is a lot of talk about people marrying types like their mom/dad, it isn't always completely accurate. Hopefully, you can both make the very most of what you have for each other as individuals in your relationship together.

      All we can really change is ourselves – to be the best people we can be…and support those we love in their own efforts, too.

      Wishing you the very best! Come back soon.

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