5 Important Ways To Be More Understanding of Others

Perhaps it’s true that we all want to be understood. Maybe we’ve all felt our thoughts, feelings, and circumstances were misunderstood often.

If it’s the case that everybody shares this common feeling, shouldn’t we all make more of an effort to understand each other?

All of us can do our part to continually improve in listening more and empathizing better. If people did, maybe there would be less of the anger and division we sometimes see in our society.

It may be difficult to understand someone when you feel an urge to strongly oppose something that someone feels or believes in.

But if we all truly believe in wanting to see a better world, then everyone should do their part in understanding each other better.

If you struggle with understanding others and honestly acknowledge that, then you’re on the right path.

Here are some tips that will help you be better at being understanding of others.

Man woman sitting in chairs having a dialogue five important ways to be more understanding of others

1. Withhold your bad judgments

I’ve seen it from both sides of many issues. People always assume the worst of intentions in someone that thinks differently from them.

And the irony is, many people do it completely against the values they claim to uphold, such as freedom of speech, or freedom of expression.

If people make others feel like they can’t be open about their thoughts or feelings because they’ll be judged for not having “the right ones”, it makes it more difficult to improve our society.

More people will feel like outsiders and feel no need to change even if it’s the best thing for them.

We all have to meet others where they are in their current mindset, and respect that they speak from a perspective of trying to do what they see is best and good for the world.

We can build a bridge with someone by agreeing with them that we want good and better things for the world too.

That we don’t want to harm that person that we’re in disagreement with or make them feel bad in any way.

That we’re all just living our lives trying to find peace and happiness just like they are. Do your best to practice non-judgmental listening.

2. Dialogue more, debate less

Debates rarely, if ever, change anyone’s mind. If anything, they just make people feel what they felt before even stronger.

Rather than making a point, ask questions about why someone thinks what they think or feels what they feel. And don’t make it a gotcha question.

Genuinely ask to understand, and you’ll make others feel less threatened for explaining their perspective.

As you ask genuine questions, you’ll really get to know the “why” behind the perspective people have.

When you get to know the “why,” it may help you start to figure out unique ideas to solve the “why” behind someone’s perspective and change how they think.

3. Remember that we’re all flawed

No one is perfect in who they are. We all can be guilty of flawed thinking, bad perspectives, and wrong ideas.

We all act in ways that are sometimes not appropriate and disrespectful.

There’s likely been a time in your life where someone’s had to be graceful with you when you were being immature in your thoughts, feelings, and communication style.

Sometimes the people we try to understand better won’t respond in the best way towards us.

They might not know any better, they might be dealing with things we don’t know about, and maybe a number of other reasons.

As a person who once wrote a religious blog, I’ve seen some of the worst of it. People leaving the most terrible comments just because you expressed a different belief.

But I never took it personally. I always gave a respectful response, and hopefully in responding in a dignified manner, it would influence them to respond in a better manner.

To be understanding of me in not thinking the worst of my intentions. And in one case, someone did apologize after I was respectful in my response.

So moral of the story, by being respectful to those who may not be in as mature of a place yet in their behavior, it might help influence them to be better towards others.

4. Remember that you don’t like being misunderstood

Maybe there’s a specific memory in all of our minds when someone completely refused to get where we were coming from, and we felt angered by it.

Nobody likes someone mischaracterizing their beliefs. Understand what someone thinks in exactly the words they use to express what they think.

Don’t twist their words to mean some other negative thought or feeling that you perceive they’re communicating.

Listen closely and carefully word for word what a person says, and you can repeat their words back to be sure you get where they’re coming from.

As you keep it in mind how much you don’t like being misunderstood in what you think and feel, you’ll try your best not to do that with other people.

5. Be open-minded

Doing better at understanding someone isn’t just to help you be better at influencing others. You may discover you’re actually the one in the wrong.

And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being the one that discovers they’re in the wrong. That means we elevate to a new level of understanding and we can be better for it.

So be open to seeing that someone might actually have a point in how they understand things.

Either way, exercising a little humility could go a long way in helping all of us make the world a better place.

Related: How To Be Confident But Humble: Mastering Confidence and Humility

Final thoughts

It doesn’t take much effort just to listen with care and compassion. Not only does it not take much to do, it makes a huge difference to do it.

Practice letting go of your judgment, holding back your urge to debate, and taking time to understand everyone just a little more better each day.

Sharing is Caring:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *