Newborn Day One: How To Empathize and Understand One Another


Just like a newborn:

It is important to screen your hearing and listening immediately so you can proceed during this first month of your new life. In addition, it is important to do this regularly as you continue to mature. Even if you think you have passed your newborn hearing screen, talk to friends or another significant other if you have question your own self screening.

Just like a newborn:

You have been hearing sounds since way back in the womb. You have heard your mother’s heartbeat, the gurgles of her digestive system, the sounds from her voice and the voices of others who have interacted with her world before your birth.

Just like a newborn:

The sounds of the outside world became even louder. You are startled by an unexpected scream and soothed by a gentle voice. You pay attention and begin to respond to voices and sounds. Certain human voices become your favorite or your fear. You learn where food, warmth, and touch come from. You notice when you are feeling unease, how quickly that approaching voice quiets you or frightens you. Imagine how closely you listen when you being attended to and communicated to in those loving tones. As you begin to coordinate listening, even while staring off into the distance, pay close attention to another’s voice when they are speaking.

Just like a newborn:

This first day, you begin to empathize with others. Developing empathy requires us to recognize the viewpoint of another, especially one who we think is wrong. This is difficult until we remember moments we have been wrong in the past when others were right. People who speak differently from us possess truths that we, ourselves, have not explored.

Listening to others’ viewpoints is important to developing your own think and learning. Good thinkers profit from opposing viewpoints. They understand that new knowledge can be found when they use other ways of thinking. They profit from obtaining new insights and widening what they before did not see. They value a new method of seeing the old world. They do not presume that their view is always the best one. They enroll themselves in communication to comprehend other perspectives. They do not have suspicion on the ideas and beliefs that they do not understand or have not considered. They are comfortable disregarding a belief they had passionately held when that belief was found to be false or misleading.

Newborn Day One: Empathize and Understand Another

During a disagreement with someone, switch roles. Ask the other person, “Can I will speak from your viewpoint for 10 minutes and you can speak from mine. This way, maybe, we can understand each other better.” Afterward, each of you should correct the other’s understanding of your position: “The part of my position you don’t understand is….

During a discussion, summarize what another person is saying using a format such as: “What I understand you are saying is…. Am I correct?”

When reading, say to yourself what you imagine the author is writing. Clarify it with somebody else. Review the words for accuracy. This allows you to assess your comprehension of the author’s frame of reference. Only when you understand the authors’ viewpoint are you in a position to disagree (or agree) with it.