Success in life and love is often reliant on one’s ability to relate to others.
So how do you understand that person who is completely different from you?
It is no secret that for thousands of years, women have complained of a man’s inability to listen, but the street goes both ways people! Even if you consider yourself a good listener, do you know how to listen even when a person talks about something that you have no interest in? You may be able to listen when your significant other is talking, or a close friend, but what about a stranger with whom you have absolutely nothing in common with?
If you want to learn about people different from yourself, you have to listen. Listening not only refers to physical conversation, but also research and understanding of differing cultures.
As a way to nurse your listening skills, try and pick someone at school, work, or church with whom you have nothing in common with. Talk to them, start up a conversation, make it your goal to learn all about them.
Additionally, it is essential that you expose yourself to other opinions and ways of living. Follow someone on Facebook or Twitter who you don’t agree with. Follow several news mediums that either don’t agree with your political standing or aren’t from your country. An easy way to do this is to get news apps such as Arab News or BBC. Also, make sure that you are subscribed to both liberal and conservative news outlets.
Do some research. If you don’t know anything about your traditional Indian neighbors next door, Google it!
The objective here is to listen, through hearing, reading, and researching. Make it your goal not just to see the differences around you, but to try and understand them.
2. Be Curious
Learning, researching, and listening never get me anywhere unless I have a genuine curiosity toward learning something new. Curiosity is different from interest. An interest is something that someone desires to do, or be, themselves. Curiosity is a casual desire for the observance or learning of some custom or act.
If you’re not interested in something, you can definitely be curious about it. For example, I have no particular interest in becoming a member of the Satanic church. However, because of my healthy curiosity (and an underlying interest in religious studies) I have researched the beliefs behind Satanism.
Now, fostering a good sense of curiosity is all about thinking critically. You have to figure out ways that something that you aren’t interested in relates something you are interested in. The best doctors, researchers, and preachers I have ever known are ones that are curious. People who want to be masters of their own craft should always become observers and learners others.
For example, say you’re a jock at your high school. You love sports and being outside. But in order to foster your love and interest of sports and the outdoors, you have to ensure that your grades are up to par. In order to ensure your grades are up to par, it’s important that you know how to study effectively and use the technology available to you.
You, as a jock, aren’t particularly interested in nerd or geek culture. However, the nerd at your school know how to study and the geeks know how to use computer programs to make killer presentations. Therefore, having interest in achieving good grades, you should get to know the geeks and the nerds so that maybe their culture and knowledge benefit you in some way.
However, if you are selfish in your curiosity, things can go south. Which leads me to the very last step.
3. Love People
Being a good listener and learning to have a good sense of curiosity will definitely make you skilled in relating. However, it’s what you do with relational ability that is important. Relation and understanding can be used for good or for harm.
Understanding and relating to other people should be done with the end goal of loving people The only lasting thing in this world is our relationships and love shown to those around us. Even after we’re dead and gone, and our belongings are given away, it’s the way that we have impacted the people around us that remains. Some people call this the butterfly effect.
The good things that you do for other people and the love that you have for them allows them to impact other people in good ways. Even though you may never be able to trace back a legacy left by love and kind acts, those attributes are guaranteed to help many people. However, no one is able to selflessly love in their own strength.
I find that it is impossible to love everyone around me without help. The help I receive is from God. God, who is pure love, is the only one who is able to help us truly love and help others. Otherwise, “love” given through selfish intentions, and is not able to make the full impact that it could in it’s pure form, which is only offered through God.
If you want to help people, you have to know God first, because that’s the only way you are going to make a truly pure and lasting difference.
In conclusion, the ability to relate to people is an essential life skill. Being able to listen, foster curiosity, and love people allows us to make the biggest impact possible. However, we may always find it hard to love completely in our own strength. We need to learn how to love with God’s love in order make make something truly wonderful here on earth.
“Not everyone thinks the way you think, knows the things you know, believes
the things you believe, nor acts the way you would act. Remember this and you will go a long way in getting along with people.”
– Arthur Forman