The Beauty Of Understanding
In today’s world, it’s easy to concentrate on the things that don’t work or the many terrible things that take place day in and day out. Sickness, war, death, judgment, prejudice, it all can become overwhelming. Despite this truth, there is an overwhelming beauty that is in the world. The music that moves your every being and speaks deeply to your heart and art that is breathtaking enough to rattle your soul. Relationships, tolerance, and love. Ideas that cannot be grasped by definition or limited by the finite capacity of our understandings. It’s better to focus on these things. That’s the key to happiness, isn’t it? Perspective? Here are some ways to change your perspective.
Do Not Assume That People Are Against You
It’s easy to feel like this, and our society hasn’t helped create interactions that don’t reinforce this idea. We live in a time where the ultimate goal is to succeed, no matter the cost. The American dream is the bar that has been set and this measures success. Cell phones have disconnected us from the world around us, and our random interactions with strangers that used to occur don’t anymore and even if they do we quickly use the devices in our hands to escape. The sense of community has faded, but it’s not gone. I know it might seem as though no one cares. However, it’s just not true. People don’t wake up ready to ruin your day. They aren’t out to get you. The barriers we have created aren’t permanent. Other people hide within themselves because they often feel isolated like many other people. Take a risk. Talk to someone today. Not just a “hello” but talk to them. Ask them how their day is and be prepared to listen. Keep asking people until a conversation starts. I promise that if you do this and follow the steps in this article your faith in humanity will restore.
Seek To Understand
We tend to seek to be correct. It reinforces our belief systems and our behaviors. It’s natural to hope to be right, especially about larger ideas that have to do with what we believe and our culture. When people disagree it’s like they are telling us that the very nature of ourselves is incorrect. Our natural response is to become defensive and look for ways that they are wrong. The very reason that this upsets us is the same reason that we should seek to understand their view. In the vast majority of instances, people desire to be listened to, not to convince or to be convinced. Instead of becoming defensive and feeling attacked, try to understand why that person believes the way they do. Not only will this build better relationships it will also help you know yourself better. When you seek to understand any conversation can be civil and even rewarding, no matter how large the differences.
Stay Calm Through Differences. Their Beliefs Are Not An Attack On You.
This one is a reinforcement of the last two points because the idea is so important. When someone disagrees, it’s because years of their past experiences have added up to them believing that with everything in them that this, the way they are, is the best way to deal with the world around them. It’s the same reason that we believe what we do. It’s the reason that change takes time and the reason that beliefs are so firmly ingrained. Stay calm and remember that they deserve love and understanding as much as we want to be loved and understood.
Seek To Be Understood
All of this might seem a little passive. It’s not necessary for you to sacrifice your own beliefs to seek to understand others and remain neutral. Your beliefs are still your beliefs, and they matter. Knowledge is an interesting possession. It always changes and grows. When talking to people remember that they haven’t lived the life that you’ve lived. When we think of the things that we believe they seem so real and relevant that it’s often hard to understand why others don’t think that way too. Take time and explain. Remember, they aren’t attacking you, they have reasons for believing what they do, and try to understand each other. When you’ve treated their beliefs with respect and dignity, then they will almost always do the same for you.
Community needs to make a comeback. People are incredible. Relationships are meaningful and make the world seem more valuable. Embrace the beauty in diversity. It’s because of these different experiences and cultures that we have things like Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Banksy’s Girl With Ballon, and all the other incredible artistry that moves us. What’s even more amazing is the picture that you can paint when you seek to understand. The relationships that are created, even when they are brief, tear down the destruction and restore beauty to the world. Create your own art through relationships. Love and be loved.
Jonathan Hughes, MA, CNP, KPSS
Addiction Recovery Care
Program Development and Business Communications
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