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« May 2013: “Make more deposits than withdrawals in your relationship’s emotional bank account.” | | July 2013: “Cultivating Deposits in our Emotional Bank Account: Keeping Commitments” »

June 2013: “Cultivating Deposits in our Emotional Bank Account: Understanding the Individual”

This month we will be exploring one of six ways we can add deposits into the emotional bank accounts we have with others. Stephen Covey’s first suggested deposit is that we understand the individual. For most of us, understanding the individual happens through our own perception – we bring our own values, ways of being and doing into the process and then form automatic judgments about the person based on these. The consequence is that we never get to a point where we truly understand or have empathy for them. Most people can sense whether or not they are truly being heard and this affects trust. In order for us to develop empathy, we need to get outside of our own egos and get curious about this unique other human being who has a completely different set of values, ways of being and doing than us. One easy way we can quickly move into this stance is before engaging to repeat the Covey mantra to ourselves: “Seek first to understand then to be understood.”

In the next month, practice getting into an empathic and curious stance in your relationships with others. If it helps, repeat the phrase to yourself – “Seek first to understand then to be understood” and remember to do this especially with people you know well (both those whom you like AND dislike). These relationships may need more deposits than others. Notice how things change as you practice true understanding and empathy, both in you and in your relationships.

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