Seek first to understand, then to be understood

7 habits - understand

Seek first to understand, then to be understood can be defined as “Having a frame of mind and heart that empathically listens to others first before seeking to be understood in all human interactions.”

KCP’s example of Seek first to understand, then to be understood is “We empathically listen first to others in any circumstances before we get our point across. We start with trust (ethos), empathy (pathos), and then utilize our logic (logos) in this order.”

Communication is the most important skill in life. It creates “contact” with another human being. Deeper communication will create a deeper level of contact with your loved ones: spouse, children, parents, friends, etc. The deeper contact will enrich your life because you are truly connected and understand another human being. You spend years learning how to read and write, and years learning how to speak. But what about listening? What training have we had that enables us to listen so you really, deeply understand another human being? Without empathic listening (understanding), we rush into evaluate, probe, advise, or interpret others. We want to get our point across (understood). Empathic listening means you listen with ears, eyes, and heart. You listen for feelings, for meaning, for behaviors. Instead of assuming another person’s thoughts, feelings, motives, you deal with the reality inside another person’s mind and heart. Without empathic listening there is no true sense of communication. You won’t be able to understand another human being.

Empathic listing also means you are ready to be “influenced” by others. You have the changeless inner core, the principle center, from which you can handle the more outward vulnerability with peace and strength. You are proactive enough to operate from the principle center and to know your priorities that are important but not urgent. At the end, your true understanding will give you the strength, relationship, and courage to seek to be understood. You don’t just complain. You come up with solutions!

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