4 Steps to Understanding
Mission1Race follows 8 principles on the Journey toward Oneness and human reconciliation. Step 1 is Understand represented in October. Every October is a new year for Mission1Race and a new year for us, as humans, to begin anew, starting with humility and being more Understanding to others and ourselves.
True understanding reaches far beyond mere cognition of life’s facts. So often our discussions with others center on the circumstances that have occurred. This locks us into heated debate, rather than accomplishing resolution. More productive to attaining true understanding is a sense of deep empathy. How is that achieved with someone who may have very different views? Understanding is recognition that though our circumstances vary greatly, we are both deeply affected by the pain we have experienced. Though we experience different victories, we connect through similar victorious feelings. Understanding is accomplished when we listen to others’ emotions and our own are heard.
4 Steps to Understanding
Listen for Emotions - Listen for how someone feels when they talk, rather than focusing on the facts of their life’s events. When you can say to someone, “Oh, I haven’t experienced what you are experiencing, but I’ve certainly felt devastation before,” you are coming to a place of empathy and understanding.
Speak True Feelings - It is difficult to vulnerably express how we have been affected by another person. Speaking more precisely and vulnerably offers something that others can begin to understand. “I am hurting,” or “I feel hurt” offers much more to work with than “You are insensitive.” The key is to figure out exactly what I feel before speaking with flavors of blame for “what the other did to me.”
Double Check - Rephrase what the person is saying to you; without translation or interpretation. If you don’t comprehend what they are talking about, ask questions. This creates space for others to clarify and feel heard. “Okay it sounds like X is important to you, but Y is more urgent and impactful.” It’s amazing how a simple paraphrased sentence opens the conversation to become much more meaningful and connective.
Check your own Motivations - It’s so easy to get caught up in facts and debate – remember – we are not determining the most beneficial actions! We are listening for how the other feels/felt in a given situation. Pro Tip: How they felt long ago, probably still has some current feeling. Check your own motivations – If you have a desired outcome for the conversation, are hoping to show them how you feel, or are hoping to explain something to them – you have ulterior motives. Your motives in this case are about something you need, rather than a pure desire to understand them.
Following these steps creates space for someone to share when they may have been nervous to share. It also builds a space for more sharing to be done – Including your own sharing! Once you’ve heard the emotion behind the event, and shared your own, you will have a firm foundation of understanding with which to proceed. Understanding is the unseen foundation of the gorgeous structure of Oneness we are building. Building is hard work – I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, or quick, or painless. I am saying that it will be totally and completely worth every ounce of energy we put into learning how to understand.
Author: Miller, Becky; Oct. 09, 2020