When we take the time to understand…..

This tendency to rush in and “fix things up” with a lot of good advice is ever so common. Advising is easier and quicker than understanding, but it doesn’t work for two basic reasons. First, we don’t yet understand, and our advice may be way off the mark (as the optometrist’s was). Second, the advice we give, however good, may be seen as a form of judgment, even rejection, because we never really took the time to listen in order to understand. To carefully listen is a powerful way of saying to another that we value that person. The opposite can be very demeaning. Communication, in a sense, is like an iceberg. The verbal, or word, part is like the part of an iceberg seen above the surface of the water. Yet the great mass of the iceberg is under the surface and cannot be seen. So with communication. Most of it takes place in attitudes and feelings and spirit. We call this nonverbal communication. When we take the time to understand and stay with that effort until the other feels that we do understand, we have communicated many things: we care, we want to understand, we respect the person’s expression, we give dignity and an individual sense of worth.

– Stephen Covey from ‘Spiritual Roots of Human Relations’


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