I was on the phone with a guy friend of mine last night, let’s call him, Mr. E. Well, Mr. E was telling me about his family situation and some of the things that have happened in his life. At the end of his story, he told me he didn’t understand how I could be so understanding. Most people asked questions, or blamed him, or blamed someone in his family, or they just judged the entire time he was talking.
This is not the first time I have been told “you are so understanding.” Most people expect me to be shocked by what they reveal to me about their personal lives. Truth is, I am rarely shocked when people confide in me. Which is often a shock in itself because I live in south where opinion is always in season.
So, if you are interested in learning how to be more understanding of others, here are some step by step instructions on how to WOW the world with your new found ability to seem more accepting of distressing news and of people in general.
Step 1: Be Judgmental.
Before you walk away from this post thinking it is a hoax, hear me out. How can you presume to be more understanding if you do not understand the other side? It’s like that grass is greener metaphor. You are stuck on this side where the grass is dead and never grows. You feed it buckets of judgmental looks, you water it with cynicism, it gets plenty of self -righteous rays, but you just can’t seem to get the grass to grow. And no one wants to visit to your side of the fence where the grass is dead. I mean, who wants to lay out and tan in dead, scratchy, rude ass grass? No one.
My point is, you have to want to change. You have to no longer want dead grass.
Step 2: Rebel Against Your Parents At A Young Age.
Or, if you are too old to rebel against your parents (let’s face it, are we ever too old?), just befriend some people that view the world differently than you do and try to grasp their concepts. They are going to be different than yours and probably your other friends, and most likely your parents and the rest of your family, and basically anyone else you already know. But that’s ok. You want to learn from them. You want to learn what they feed and water their grass with. When you disagree with something they say, ask them questions instead of out right disagreeing with them.
I became friends with a group of people that taught me I had my own mind, that I could make my own decisions. At age thirteen, this was a radical concept for one who had followed their family’s thoughts and ideas like a fu***** religion. Needless to say, when I started opposing my family’s ideologies, I started getting strange looks and became the “black sheep”.
But rebelling is not the purpose of making new friends. Understanding is the purpose. These new friends of mine taught me to look at the world a different way than the way my family looked at it. As will your new friends.
Step 3: Gently Dip A Toe.
If you try to jump right in, it might be a bit over whelming. You can’t feed your dead grass all of the love and dump gallons of support on top and expect it to grow over night. You have to work at it little by little. Start with a topic you are already a little more open to, then start looking at that topic from both sides. Once you have become more understanding of that topic, try a harder topic and so on. It may take years to get your grass the color green you want, but little by little, it will start to show color and more and more people will be interested in your beautiful green grass.
Step 4: Continue to Practice
Friends come and go. The friends that opened my eyes are no longer part of my life. Your friends that opened you up to the joys of understanding may not stick around, but that is okay. With daily practice you will gain new friends. If we go back to the grass metaphor that I really wish I was done with, if you water your grass daily it will gain color and more people will come to admire your handy work and BOOM! You have new friends that will lay on your plushy green grass and tan with you.
And that is it!! Just four steps to do understanding!!
While these four steps may seem simple, it can be very challenging to re-wire your mind to think differently and open up to new opinions. If you are thinking about trying to be more understanding because someone has told you that you need to change, don’t try this.These steps are for people that want to change for themselves not for those that want to impress someone else.
In Response To: Understanding