Chapter5-7 : Letting the other person know “I understand your feelings” makes him or her feel much b
Shakyamuni Buddha said, “Everyone suffers from the feeling ‘No one understands me.’”
We all possess the strong desire to have someone listen to and understand our troubles and sorrows, our pains and endeavors.
The very thought that no one understands our problems is enough to sink our spirits into depression.
On the contrary, when we reveal our problems and sorrows to someone else and receive their understanding, that in itself makes us feel lighter, as if we’ve been “saved.”
“Listening to someone” means conveying to them the sympathetic thought that one understands their feelings.
That sympathy can, in extreme cases, make the difference for that other person between serious thoughts of suicide and the courage to carry on in life.
Well then, how can we convey the sympathetic message “I understand your feelings” to someone else?
We have already spoken of the importance of nodding as you listen; now let’s go one step further and talk about a very effective technique for responding in conversation.
It’s a question of paying attention not so much to the facts or incidents in the other’s story as to his or her feelings, and conveying a message of sympathy for those feelings.
For example, let’s suppose a friend of yours says that he couldn’t go to sleep until very late last night due to working overtime.
If you then ask “My! What kind of overtime was it?” or “How late did you stay in the office?” your friend will answer, “Working in the warehouse,” or “Until one in the morning,” and the conversation will stop there.
And it cannot be said that you have understood his real feelings.
The reason is that what your friend wants you to understand is not the content of his overtime work or how late he stayed at the company, but rather that he’s feeling the effects of too little sleep the previous night.
That’s why he said what he did. Well then, how should we respond in such a case?
You should express your concern for him by saying something like “That’s really tough.
Are you feeling okay now?”
Then the other person will feel happy that you have understood how difficult his situation is.
And if the person is someone you are especially close to, you might say “Thanks for meeting me when you’re not feeling one hundred percent.”
By expressing your gratitude to him in this way, you can make him feel even happier.
If someone says, “I’ve been thinking of changing jobs lately,” don’t just ask, “What do you plan to do after quitting?”
Try saying, “Is there something bothering you about your present job?”
The person is thinking of quitting his present job because there’s something bothering him about it.
If he speaks to you about quitting, it isn’t because he wants you to help him find another job.
It’s because he wants to talk to you about what’s bothering him.
When a child says to his mother, “I can jump over the vault-block now,” it’s because he wants his mother to praise him.
The mother shouldn’t just casually say, “Oh well, that’s nice.”
She should say, “You worked hard for that, didn’t you?
I bet you felt really happy when you made the jump!”
By sharing in her son’s emotions when he succeeds, she makes him feel even happier.
By trying to share in the other person’s feelings as you listen to him or her, you can make that person happy.
This is far more effective than proposing some fresh topic or offering helpful advice from your side.
If you grasp the desire to be understood that is hidden within the other’s words and then add an encouraging word or two of your own, the other person will feel, “He’s understood what I’m feeling!” and feel, from the bottom of his or her heart, truly at peace.
Then you will become an irreplaceable part of that person’s life.