When I know you understand me, I feel happier than when you merely appreciate me. When I hear sweet praise, it tickles my mind and senses, but when I know you understand what I am saying, it helps my heart connect to you. When you say nice things about me, it may please me but when you listen with an intent to understand (and not respond) we both rise beyond the mind- we enter a space of real empathy and love.
In the lonely world of love-starved busy-bees, people absorb themselves in a variety of activities- often because they are scared to face the vacuum of their hearts. The busy-ness is habitually an attempt to escape the pain of being unloved. When a person is unloved, it’s easier for him to hate others as well. At such times when you understand others, you enter their lives as a breath of fresh air- you have sent a loud message of acceptance. You’ve made a tremendous choice- to move from hate to love. The science fiction novelist Orson Scott said, “When you really know someone, you can’t hate them. Or maybe, it’s just that you can’t really know them until you stop hating them.”
I saw one of my relationships improve the very day I resolved not to appreciate without a sincere effort to understand him- his needs and feelings. I knew this would be hard work, but intuitively realized it’s also more life-enhancing. I had come to a painful realization that over the years my appreciation of him was, unfortunately, my own loud voice drowning his silent call for love. But by choice of understanding, I would now acknowledge his needs and keep myself aside. Instead of saying, “I understand how you feel” and then ranting my own story, I decided to show my concern by silently catching each word he spoke, listening to even his body language.
To be continued…