The pathway to understanding

By Dave Henning / July 28, 2016

In today’s blog, Dr. Gary Chapman reminds us that “listening paves the pathway to understanding.”  Consequently, he illustrates this by presenting steps four through seven of his seven-step process for responding to angry people.

4.  Seek to understand the angry person’s plight.  Since you have listened, listened, and listened, now put yourself in the angry person’s shoes.  Attempt to view the world through her eyes.  Dr. Chapman encourages you to ask: Would I be angry in the same situation?

Although your response to the same situation might be quite different, you must make the effort to understand her anger.  Attempting to defend yourself or shift the blame to the angry person most likely escalates, rather than processes, anger.

At this point, understanding- not interpretation- of the issue is crucial.  Therefore, argument has no place here.

5.  Express understanding of the other person’s anger.  Let the angry person know you stand beside him in his anger.  Thereby, you acknowledge that you not only understand his anger, but also that you would be angry in a similar situation.

6.  Share additional information.  Sharing your perception of what happened does the angry person a great service.  “Setting the other person straight” through unleashing a series of angry counterattacks constitutes a serious mistake.

Therefore, share the facts as you see them only after listening, understanding, and expressing that understanding of the other person’s anger.

7.  Confession and restitution.  Once you have determined the word definitive categorizes the other person’s anger, then respond with confession and restitution.  Most noteworthy, Dr. Chapman concludes, “confession and restitution almost always head not only to emotional health, but to strong, healthy relationships.”

Today’s question: Which of Dr. Chapman’s seven steps help you see that “listening paves the pathway to understanding?”  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Quick to listen”


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Dave Henning

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