One day, after some frustration of being told something over and over again, she turned to look me straight in the eye and said, “Mom! I hear you and I understand!”
Wow. It literally stopped me in my tracks. It was exactly what I needed to know. Once I knew my message was heard and understood, I could relax and go on with my life. She was a good kid, and her message told me she simply needed space to do it on her own.
It’s when we feel unheard that we speak louder and repeat ourselves. It’s when we feel misunderstood, that we continue talking, explaining ourselves. Everyone wants to be heard and understood. Everyone.
What if, the next time you get in a heated discussion with someone, you stopped for 5 seconds, and put yourself in the other person’s frame of mind, simply to hear their words and understand where they’re coming from. Even if you think their frame of mind is warped, ridiculous, or just plain wrong. Put yourself in their position to get a true understanding so you can honestly say, “I hear you and I understand.” Then watch the expression on their face. I’ll bet there will be at least a moment that they stop and have a surprised look. Then, you can politely ask them if they understand your point of view. Make it a simple question. Once you both feel as though you are heard and understood, the repetitions can stop and the volume level can decrease.
A true sign that you need to do this, is if you feel as though YOU’RE not being heard and understood. Chances are, if you’re feeling this way, so is the person you’re speaking with. Be the first one to say this beautiful line and watch what happens. It may be a beautiful turnaround point in your conversation.