Strategy #2 | Seek first to understand.


Seek first to understand. 

Listen intently and open up.

Challenge your prejudices and discover commonalities.

Experience the life of others.

Have you ever heard the statement, “They just don’t get it?” When people seek for their side of the story to be heard, or to get their point across; there can be a lack of understanding. Activating empathy helps us to first seek to understand, then be understood. We learn from a young age to “feel what others feel.” When taught specifically and modeled, empathy teaches us to understand another person’s point of view, while using the information to guide our actions. Whether we lend a helping hand, offer our shoulder to cry, or just listen; compassionate action takes shape when empathy is enacted. Seek first to understand.

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Ensuring that we are actively listening to someone when they speak is important. Limit distractions, make eye contact and restate what the other person speaks for clarity.

Become aware of what you do not know about a person or situation. Knowing your biases allows to you actively work toward discovering the common bond that is present in all of us.

Spending time with someone can build a greater understanding of that person’s life. Eating a meal, working on a project, or having a conversation are great ways to build understanding.