It is said that communication is one of the biggest challenges in relationships. According to statistics, we are not doing a good job in communicating.
Maybe we communicate more than statistics tell us? We have all of the communicative means necessary to do so: texting, talking, writing, email, etc. We are talking on the phone while walking obliviously and stupidly across the street during a green light. We are communicating via text while driving. Are we talking about a bunch of “nothingness?”
Perhaps the problem is not entirely about the lack of meaningful communication. Maybe we are overlooking one major component? Once we realize we need more of it, and we need to use it all of the time in dialogue; and then learn how to use it, we will communicate more effectively, and strengthen the bond of our relationships in a more meaningful way.
The missing component is, “Understanding.”
It is one of the most underutilized tools in conversations. We are misunderstanding each other more often than not. We appear to understand. We even nod in agreement as if we do. In some ways, we do, but for the most part, we do not. We are told understanding is what we need, but have no clear direction on how to develop it.
If we really had understanding down to a science, there would be no war. If we had understanding down pact, there would not be misinterpretations and various versions of truth from messages we have heard. If we had more understanding, we would not be frustrated with our partner for misjudging us. If we had understanding, we would have less misperceptions and more accurate conclusions with precision.
Understanding is the ability to accurately perceive, comprehend, grasp and process conversations; arriving at an accurate conclusion of what has been said (not what we think we have heard), while being empathetic towards a person or situation.
When we are misunderstood by our partner, we feel isolated, alone, and alienated in our own relationships and bedrooms. We shut down, close down and keep things inside, in frustration of being misunderstood. This creates distance; leaving room for someone else to understand our partner. Nothing is more frustrating than being misunderstood.
We find we connect better, and have meaningful conversations, all the time, with the one who understands us. More often than not, when understanding exists between two people of the opposite sex— having sex is not very far from the connection. If sex has not happened yet— it has definitely been considered or is being considered.
Understanding creates a strong bond and it continues to grow, because the conversations continue to build, therefore knowing that person becomes easier, and things just flow naturally. It is very difficult to break up a couple when they totally understand each other. There are no hold backs, and no pullbacks when we find someone who really understands us.
In order to have understanding you must train yourself to use the following tools: perception, discernment, a mental thought process, and listening.
Perception means to become aware of, know or identify by means of the senses. Mental Process is the process of thinking. Discernment is the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure. (If you dig deeper into the meaning of understanding it is also defined as the superior power of discernment; enlightened intelligence.) http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/understanding
Listening is actively taking part by concentrating on the words and expression of what your partner is saying and also how he/she is saying it. http://www.d.umn.edu/kmc/student/loon/acad/strat/ss_hearing.html
It is also important to be fully present when engaged in dialogue. Do not mentally go ahead of the conversation, but take in every word. Do not judge on past experiences to draw a conclusion. Do not draw parallels from other situations. Do not judge. Judgment limits your understanding of the situation. You cannot be entirely empathetic while judging. Try to put yourself in the place of your partner in order to see and feel what they are going through. Take note of the nonverbal clues. Listening, watching, feeling and observing are all absolutely critical to your getting an understanding.
Restate certain statements during the conversation, with as minimal interruption as possible, to let your partner know you understand what they are saying. Before drawing a conclusion, ask certain questions to critically analyze if your thoughts are correct— prior to saying what you think the conclusion or solution is to the problem.
Remember your partner needs your understanding and needs to be understood.