How to understand people better

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

How to understand people better

A friend of mine had intense hatred towards her job, she used to explain to me how much she suffers every morning on her way to the office and how horrible she feels at the end of each weekend.

Whenever my friend told her friends or relatives about her problem they always gave her the same answer, "Be strong, everyone is working why do you want to be different"

Sadly their answer reflects how poorly they understand her because if they knew anything about psychology they would have never said that. In this article I will teach you how to understand people better by telling you how to avoid the common mistakes everyone does when trying to understand someone else.

We are not the same!!

"Be strong, everyone is working why do you want to be different"

This answer stems from the false belief that states that everyone is identical while the truth is that each one of us sees the world differently based on his own past experiences.

If dogs ran after a six years old child he might grow up fearing dogs while if the parents of another guy bought him a small pet dog when he was six then he might grow up loving dogs.

If the second guy saw the first feeling uncomfortable because a dog was passing by he might think that he is a coward!! The main reason the second guy thought that the first one was a coward is that he judged him based on his own belief system. For the second guy dogs are not harmful so why on earth would someone fear them?

The first fatal mistake that can prevent you from understanding people is judging them based on your own belief system.

To understand people you must feel their emotions

The "be strong" advice stems from another false belief which states that we all have the same level of tolerance towards different events but the truth is that we are completely different. A person might love to stay at home while another could suffocate if he spent few hours without interacting with people.

In order to understand people you don’t just need to put yourself in their shoes but you need to feel the emotions they experience.

When I spoke to my friend who hates her job I found out that deep inside her subconscious mind freedom was valued the most and because she associated desk jobs with lack of freedom she couldn’t stand going to an office from 9 to 5 just like the rest of people.

I encouraged her to quit her job and she is now happy doing free lance training and coaching.

He is an idiot

One of the most common mistakes people do when attempting to understand each other is labeling them if they didn’t understand the intention behind their behaviour.

For example you could label a person dumb for doing something that appears non logical to you but as soon as you understand the reason behind his actions you might find that you were mistaken.

Calling someone idiot, mad or nuts is sometimes nothing more than a way to help yourself become familiar with his acts. We humans don’t like vague things and that’s why we rush to define everyone’s actions from our perspective just to feel that we understand them.

In my book The ultimate guide to maintaining a healthy relationship i explained how many couples fight just because they assume the intentions of each other incorrectly. If they were to discuss these problems face to face they would have had less fights.

If I were asked to summarize the art of understanding people into few words I would have said that in order to understand people better you must live their past, feel their emotions and think using their minds.

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