Active Understanding

Rather than assuming we understand others, actively seek reasons they speak and act as they do, especially when we notice it; that is, when it annoys or confuses us.

Our instinctive unconscious response is “They are like me, therefore I understand them, therefore what they’re saying or doing is mean or selfish or aggressive.”

Because it’s unconscious, we have to train ourselves to

a) notice we’re responding with assumptions
b) realize when the assumptions aren’t helping
c) imagine other possibilities
d) accept that they are equally, if not more, likely than our assumptions

There is someone in your life who could use your Active Understanding. Next time you see them, pause, turn on your AU senses, and see what you learn.