Summary: Sermon 5 of 7 in series on Personal Change
Seek First To Understand, Then to be Understood
This is powerful because it is right in the middle of your Circle of Influence. Many factors in interdependent situations are in your Circle of Concern - problems, disagreement, circumstance, other people’s behavior. And if you focus your energies out there, you deplete them with little positive results.
But you can always seek first to understand. That’s something that’s within your control. And as you do that, as you focus on your Circle of Influence, you really, deeply understand other people. You have accurate information to work with, you get to the heart of matters quickly, you build Emotional Bank Accounts, and you give people the psychological air they need so you can work together effectively.
It’s the inside-out approach. And as you do it, watch what happens to your Circle of Influence. Because you really listen, you become able to be influenced. And being able to be influenced is the key to influencing other people.Your circle begins to expand. You increase your ability to influence many of the things in your Circle of Concern.
And watch what happens to you. The more deeply you understand other people, the more you will appreciate the, the more reverent you will feel about them. To touch the soul of another human being is to walk on holy ground.
This is something that you can practice even right now. The next time you talk to anybody, you can put aside your own autobiography and genuinely seek to understand. Even when people don’t want to open up about their problems, you can be considerate. You can sense their hearts, you can sense the hurt, and you can effectively respond. You might say, "You seem down today." They may say nothing, but that’s all right. You’ve shown understanding and respect.
Don’t push. Be patient; be respectful. People don’t have to open up to you before you can be considerate. You can be considerate all the time with their behavior. You can be discerning, sensitive, and aware and you ca live outside your autobiography when that is needed.
And if you are proactive, you can create opportunities to do preventive work. You don’t have to wait until your son or daughter has a problem with school or you have your next business negotiation to seek first to understand.
Spend time with your children now, one on one. Listen to us and understand us. Look at your home, at school life, at the challenges and the problems we’re facing, through our eyes. Build the Emotional Bank Account Give us some air.
Go out with your spouse on a regular basis. Have dinner or go to a movie or do something together that you both enjoy. Listen to each other, seek to understand. See life through each other’s eyes.
My daily time with my friends is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. As well as seeking to understand them, I often take time to practice considerate listening skills to see how to help them become better people.
We often share different perceptions of the situation.
The time you invest to deeply understand the people you love brings tremendous dividends in open communication. Many of the problems that plague families, relationships and marriages is that they simply don’t have time to fester and develop. The communication becomes so open that potential problems can be nipped in the bud. And there are great reserves of trust in the Emotional Bank Account to handle the problems that do arise.