Slow Down - Understand To Be Understood

By Albina Bardhi on Oct 15, 2023

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it's easy to get swept away in the tide of quick judgments and snap decisions. But what if we took a moment to pause and consider the value of understanding before we form our opinions? Understanding someone else's point of view doesn't mean you have to agree with it, but it does require an open mind, patience, and a willingness to suspend judgment.
This blog isn't about telling you what to do; it's about sharing my personal perspective.

We've all been guilty of jumping to conclusions, assuming we know what someone else means, and prioritizing our own views over listening to others. We skim an article or a social media post, and instead of fully absorbing the content, we're already convinced we know what it's about. We assume, rather than inquire. We skip engaging in deep conversations because it's easier to assert that we've got it all figured out. We avoid the fine print or double-checking our facts because, let's face it, it might not align with what we want to believe.

So, why does this happen? It's because most of us listen with the intent to reply, not to understand.
Think about it – when someone is talking to you, are you genuinely focused on what they're saying, or are you already formulating your response in your mind? Are you thinking about the questions you want to ask, how you can relate to their experiences, or even how you can steer the conversation toward your viewpoint? More often than not, we filter everything we hear through the lens of our own life experiences and frame of reference.
As a result, we often decide what the other person means before they've even finished speaking. How many times have you caught yourself thinking, "I know where this is going" before someone has a chance to express their viewpoint fully? If you find yourself nodding in agreement, you're not alone.

We're all in a rush to have opinions, make decisions, and assert ourselves in the chaos of everyday life. After all, now we all own our own media companies. The power to communicate has shifted from the few to the many.

But what if I told you that there's immense value in slowing down and taking the time to understand before you judge? Why is it the way it is? Why do they believe what they believe? Is it possible that you misunderstood them, or they misunderstood you? With your client, employee, vendor, partner, or that random passerby? Before we ruin everyone's day, just a quick moment to wonder, "did I understood it correctly?". Just ask.

When we're open to the possibility that other people’s experiences and perspectives are just as valid as our own the magic happens. It's a skill we often overlook, but it's a skill that can bridge gaps, foster empathy, and make our conversations more meaningful. You should try it.

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