Wellness Wednesday – The Power Of Understanding

As Humans, we are consumed with ‘me’. The notion that we are the centre of gravitational pull and the world, its contents and the people who inhabit it, revolve around us.

We become irritated by the person in their car in front of us who isn’t great at ‘lane discipline’, or the cashier in the Bank enjoying their conversation with their current customer ‘too much’ and holding us up, or quite simply when we just don’t like the cut of someone’s jib!

It is fairly infrequent that we stop to think and understand what these people may be going through. You were not to know that the guy in the car in front is petrified of spiders and one had just dropped from the visor on to his lap! Eeek! You were equally not to know that the lady who works in the bank has just lost her husband and the person she’s talking too was a dear friend of his. Reminiscing about old times brought a smile to her face.

The Power of Understanding can help us with tolerance, patience and can drastically reduce stress and anxiety.

Stephen Covey explores the Power of Understanding in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, where he calls this ‘Seek First to Understand’. If we immediately think of ourselves first, it could be a complete waste of our energy, time and emotional capacity. What do I mean? Well, how many of us have ever thought ‘why me?’, or ‘I wish they liked me’ or even ‘why don’t they get me?’. When we turn the energy on ourselves, it can paralyse us and the dreaded thoughts we had become a reality. Instead, we should ask ‘why do they feel that way’ or ‘what are they going through personally’ or you could even (if you’re feeling brave) ask them outright.

Clearing the air like this, can offer us understanding and make way for clearer communication and a more productive relationship moving forward. This is vital when it comes to colleagues or people we may need to communicate with frequently.

Listening to your gut is fine, it can help. But it can also hinder. Aim to understand.


Lee Green