Taking things out of context

Let's Talk About Feelings
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Have you ever had a conversation with someone else and later learn that everything you said was misunderstood? Why does this happen?

I think this happens for a variety of reasons. The most important part is a failure to put ourselves in others shoes. It is hard to be sympathetic or empathetic sometimes with other people. It is especially sad when you see this between people who spend lots of time with each other like family or coworkers. I have seen people have empathy/sympathy burnout.

So how can you be understood and make sure you understand others? I think that Steven Covey’s principle of “Seek first to understand, then be understood” is very helpful. Before I learned this guideline I used to try to get others to understand me first. It never worked out. People wanted to be understood first, and they needed to feel understood first before they would listen to my needs. It wasn’t easy to listen to others sometimes when I wanted to defend my position and argue, but ultimately it was very helpful. I was always wrong to hurt their feelings, and I apologized. Then I listened to what they needed, and found a way to show them that I understood that. Then I explained my feelings and what I needed. This worked very well.

I think we take things out of context when we don’t first listen to others and not project our own thoughts/values/desires/expectations on others. Of course this is just my opinion I could be wrong.