You Don’t Understand


Have you noticed how while talking to some people they look spaced out, and you get the feeling that they are not listening to a word you’re saying? They don’t even look at you when you’re talking.

I believe communication is the most important skill in life, and that dialogue is the key to all human relationships. In fact I do not believe in resolving any kind of problem through force. I am totally against war and I do believe that if we can sit and talk and listen and try to understand at least we can resolve all our problems.

To do this we have to be able not only to talk but to listen also. We spend years learning to read, write and talk. But when or how do we learn to listen, really listen and understand another human being?

I remember when I was teaching, how at the start of a new lesson, a few kids would raise their hands and complain, “but I don’t understand.” And the first thing I would tell them is to “listen, listen carefully.” On some occasions it would so happen that someone would raise his/her hand to tell me “I don’t understand” and I would say but “I didn’t explain anything yet.”

Most of the time when I have a problem that I want to talk over with some of my friends, I hold back in fear of being misunderstood. Because I know they will not listen with the intention to understand me, they will listen only with the intention to reply. They will weave everything with their own personal experiences and I will be hearing their biography instead of me talking about my problem. They will start with “Oh, I know how you feel. I went through exactly the same thing. Let me tell you about it.” Or something like, “No, you don’t know. It’s not like that because the same thing happened to me, etc.”

However, the most awful encounter is with my kids, when they tell me, “You don’t understand,” and a simple conversation with them turns into an argument. Haven’t we felt the same way with our parents at some point in our lives? Haven’t we repeated that same phrase, “my parents don’t understand me,” over and over?

The late Stephen R. Covey wrote:

A father once told me, “I can’t understand my kid. He just won’t listen to me at all.”
“Let me restate what you just said,” I replied. “You don’t understand your son because he won’t listen to you?”
“That’s right,” he replied.
“Let me try again,” I said. “You don’t understand your son because he won’t listen to you?”
“That’s what I said,” he impatiently replied.
“I thought that to understand another person, you needed to listen to him,” I suggested.
“Oh!” he said. There was a long pause. “Oh!” he said again, as the light began to dawn. “Oh, yeah! But I do understand him. I know what he’s going through. I went through the same thing myself. I guess what I don’t understand is why he won’t listen to me.”

ChK

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8 Responses to You Don’t Understand

  1. Fin Fox says:

    I really liked your blog, i find the art of communication has been lost and it takes a lot to try to maintain open dialog at times in any relationshis. I wrote a blog on relationship communication and body language, it’s very tongue in cheek but from your writing i thought you might like it. Please feel free to take a look… What now..? http://wp.me/p2ksG5-4j

  2. Listening seems to be a dying art. It seems that the world is evolving into a ‘me-centered’ society. These days, so many people think that when ‘someone’ talks to them he/she wants to HEAR something about them, instead of realizing that the ‘someone’ was trying to TELL them something about his/her own lives or feelings. The teller’s words fall on deaf ears. People must learn to listen with their mouths shut and actually hear what someone is saying.

    • chichikir says:

      Is it getting worse with the new generations?

      • I think so. I work in the schools and the vast majority of students don’t seem to have any communication skills. They are rude, they interrupt, they ignore you to answer a text that pops up on their phones. It is very frustrating and annoying!

      • chichikir says:

        So true! Imagine what their children would be like… Sad

      • I dread to think what will happen to their kids. A friend told me about a young woman she saw pushing a stroller who was more interested in the text on the phone in front of her face than the child or even her surroundings. My friend feared the woman would walk into traffic with her child because she was more engrossed in her phone than what was going on around her. Scary stuff!

  3. Pingback: Can You Hear Me Now? | thinspaces

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