Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Measure Of Wisdom, Words And Being Understood

It has been said that, "People don't speak to be heard, they speak to be understood." I was reminded of this recently when I read those words on a friends facebook wall. For some reason this time reading that phrase made me stop and mull it over, and while pausing I considered what it really meant. The conclusion I came to is, there is a huge amount of truth in this simple sentence after reflecting on my own experiences of being understood or misunderstood.. People  speak so others get who they are and identify with them. When someone tells their spouse you never listen to me, what they're really saying is, You don't sense what's bothering me. You don't hear the meaning of my words. How do they know their spouse hasn't made sense of what they have tried to tell them? Because of words, the response they received, what was said back to them or the lack of what was said. When what they have said is interpreted  correctly by their spouse there is a recognition in their spirit of understanding. There is something to be said  about confiding in another who identifies with you and grasps the essence of  your words.You know they have a knowledge of what you mean and they get the picture. You may even have uttered the words, Exactly, that's exactly how I feel!

I think as individuals we have a need to have others perceive us correctly. To know others deduce with clarity who we are. It's comforting when someone has a distinct understanding and recognizes what we're feeling. Then we feel heard. Being understood can comfort, defuse an angry situation, resolve a matter, make one feel heard, loved, and appreciated. What good is speaking words if no one understands you? Making sense of what is said is important and good listening skills are vital to be able to do that. Have you ever tried talking to someone who is thinking of what they want to say next and doesn't take the time to hear what you are saying  to them? It can make you think you'd get further by beating your head against a brick wall.  You can talk until you are blue in the face, but they just don't get it. Then on the other hand there are those individuals who have an ability to sense what you're trying to say. They identify with you and you know they get the picture! So much so at times that when you find yourself stumbling and looking for the right words to express yourself they can say just what you yourself are trying to get across! These  individuals have such insight and hear not only the words, but the message spoken by the one who uttered them. They always seem to  leave you feeling understood.  They have the knack of drawing out of you what you feel and mean and want to say. That my friends is a hugely important skill and not everyone has that ability. When someone instinctively knows how to accomplish that and you talk with them you find yourself nodding and thinking, YES, YOU understand, YOU get ME!

 There have been times I have had a conversation with someone who didn't possess the skills of listening and understanding and I've come away from those conversations frustrated.  I've actually had conversations with individuals who rush in to give advice and assume they know how I feel or what I was going to say before I finished speaking. They didn't bother to attentively listen to what I was saying. They heard the words, but they didn't comprehend their meaning because they had a preconceived idea of what they thought I was thinking.

           If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. Proverbs 18:13

 Those kind of conversations give rise to an anxious feeling and strong desire to get them to see, to understand! The more I try to explain my point the more apparent it becomes they don't understand and just don't get it. I've slowly, over the years, come to realize it's usually best in those circumstances to STOP! Because experience tells me they probably aren't going to perceive correctly just because I repeat myself over and over. Scripture admonishes, Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. Matthew 13:13

WOW! Making sense of what is said in a conversation is so important to gaining wisdom and wisdom is tied to understanding! A portion of wisdom is gained by being quick to listen and being conscious of what others are attempting to say. By heeding what is said and paying attention. Hearing with more than just our ears.  What good is wisdom if we don't get the picture? It's important to take time to improve listening skills. Stop and take time and hear what we are being told.. To actively build the skill of learning to interpret what others are saying we need to hone those auditory skills and put them into action.. It's annoying to talk and not have others make sense of what you've told them. Sometimes  because they weren't paying attention. To understand you have to actively participate and you can't participate if you don't focus on what's being shared. We need to stop and take time to really listen closely, instead of being concerned primarily with what we are going to say next. We need to listen closely, so we don't come to the wrong conclusion and misspeak.

2 Corinthians 5:10-11 For we must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

I think the above scripture pretty much raises before us the standard we need to adhere to when weighing how important listening and understanding are according to God's measuring stick.

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