I love talking about character qualities. —Because who doesn’t want to live life to the fullest? This character trait is most admirable. People with understanding are like golden nuggets in the river: hard to find, but if you pan long enough, you’ll find one. In this day and age, we all need a little understanding.
The dictionary defines understanding as the ability to comprehend something; being sympathetically aware of other people’s feelings; tolerant and forgiving; having insight or good judgment.
Can you think of someone you know who has understanding? I think about grandparents. If you were lucky enough to have them, Grandma and Grandpa understood everything, didn’t they? There’s a certain amount of love that comes with understanding, and wisdom, lots of wisdom. You could tell grandparents things that you couldn’t tell your parents. And of course, they would counsel you. (Ever see your parents eyes light up in disbelief about something grandparents would say? They couldn’t believe it because that is NOT what they would’ve said to them while they were growing up.) Yes, grandparents have understanding.
Today, it’s so easy misunderstand, to judge, to condemn, to be divisive. (It is an election year after all.)
All of us, every one of us is different. We are uniquely made in God’s own image. We all come from different backgrounds and different upbringings. We all make mistakes and some bad choices. We have varied beliefs. We don’t have the same lifestyles. We can learn to be understanding and still hold onto our beliefs. We can also still be forgiving and tolerant towards others. There’s a way to live in peace with our neighbors in understanding.
People who understand are good listeners. They listen and assess a situation without flying off the handle. They don’t jump to conclusions, but help to find solutions.
Do you know of anyone who has ever changed their mind or point of view by being belittled or arguing their situation, badgering their viewpoint? Social media has made it easy for us to criticize and say things we would never say to someone’s face. We no longer have to have understanding. Just leave a nasty comment to stroke our own egos and make us feel we are right. And truth be told, we may be right but that doesn’t help others to understand anything. It just causes vitriol and division.
So how can we be more understanding?
1) Be a good listener. You don’t need to be the loudest voice in the room to be effective.
2) No judgements. You don’t know what other people have been through or the life they’ve had to endure.
3) Acknowledge we have differences of opinion.
4) Live a life of understanding. Be the person who sets the good example of what understanding looks like. Teach with love, compassion and forgiveness.
Understanding takes practice. Schedule it in your calendar or planner. Practice it for 21 days until it becomes a habit. The world needs people who are a little more understanding.
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