Thursday, April 11, 2013

Seek to Understand...NOT to be Understood

Throughout my adult years, I have had to struggle not to be judgmental. Many times throughout my childhood and adult relationships, I have witnessed many demonstrations of superficial and unreasonable behavior due to a lack of information or communication in various situations. I have made progress and experienced growth over the past few years through healthy communication and learning to listen with empathy.

Through my experiences as a parent I have found that you cannot tell someone how to act if you are not showing them. So it goes with strangers. You cannot tell people what to do and expect them to listen to you, especially if they don't feel close to you. People need to learn through their experiences in order to complete their personal journey. Supporting and loving someone through their journey, even if you don't like their path, makes relationships stronger than any behavior fueled by feelings ever will. No matter what my relationship is with any person, I respect and honor their journey. I may not always understand or agree with the path that person chooses. I choose to see the best in people, even when a person has had more than a few bad days or made more than their fair share of mistakes. I realize that if people act selfish or rude, they have a fear of something and just need someone to listen and empathize rather than pass judgment on any behavior that stems from their fear. Fear is at the root of what makes people angry. People are taught to deal with anger differently from the examples they have been shown throughout their lives. Some seek vengeance, some hold grudges, some alienate, some become violent, some manipulate or justify, and the list goes on and on.

I am not always proud of my behavior when I act out of anger. Sometimes I scream or yell, sometimes I slam doors, and I have been guilty of gossip when I become upset with someone who refuses to communicate with me. I realize it is not productive or honorable behavior. It doesn't mean I won't ever again make a mistake when I become angry or upset. Through some much needed therapy I have learned to notice when I am about to yell/scream/slam things and to be more thoughtful before I speak to or about someone and their situation, especially if they are not around. To listen and believe what one person says about another without communicating or caring about the subject of the gossip is not empathetic or trustworthy. I want to be trustworthy and empathetic. I also want people to feel they can come to me for an ear or a shoulder without feeling that they will be judged or admonished or talked about. I want people to feel loved. Must be the Aries in me.

I realize there will always be people who do not see me the way I want to be seen, but I also realize people have different beliefs, expectations, and values for their relationships. I may not agree or understand, but I will try to honor them and their journey. If they do not feel honored I do hope they would be kind enough to communicate that to me rather than gossip to someone else who may not have the whole story. And I am special and important enough to be part of the story. It's called loving myself and I am glad I am learning to do that more and more these days.

I wish you all love and light in your lives. Here comes the sun, do-do-do-do...:)