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We all struggle in our relationships with others. We want to be understood and to understand, but something prevents us from getting to the place we desire in most of our relationships.

And, many times we find relationships where we just don’t connect, can’t relate or fundamentally dislike the other person. We waste time and energy lamenting these relationships, or trying to “fix” another person. The difficult person can consume our focus and zap our energy.

I have learned that the root of our problems with others is that fundamentally we simply don’t understand other people. We don’t take the time to examine what’s really going on in our relationships and instead we rush to label and to judgment. We don’t realize that we all have filters on the world and we don’t “see” others clearly, because our filters blind us.

One person’s life experience cannot possibly be the same as another’s and yet we believe everyone should see things the way we do. We come to our relationships with expectations and baggage and we emotionally heap them on the person we are trying to connect with.

In addition, our filters are clogged with different preferences for communication, different values and different views of what’s important. And so we waste time trying to get others to do it like we do, or see it our way.

The greatest gift we can give another person is to drop our own assumptions about what’s right and wrong. Refuse to color our viewpoint about who someone is, or what they do, with a black brush that says, “That’s bad” or “My way is better”.

The gift includes giving someone a break when they don’t do something the way we want them to. It involves spending the time to put a focus on the other person by asking them questions, by refusing to bring the conversation back onto ourselves and by using our emotional energy, as best we can, to learn what someone else is trying to communicate.

So much of life is wasted on trying to “fix” others. If instead we spent the energy trying to understand others, and at the same time, looking deeply inside of ourselves to understand our own filters and judgments, many of our relationship troubles would disappear overnight. We don’t have to like everyone but if we can work to understand them, we’d all be living in a more peaceful world.

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Beverly Flaxington is a highly sought after national public speaker. As a corporate consultant, college professor, hypnotherapist, certified behavioral expert, published author and frequent radio guest and contributor to magazines, newsletters and online journals Bev has insights, education and specific tools to share with audiences of all types.

Her 2009 book, Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior won the gold award from Readers Favorite for best new book on relationships. Many of Bev's presentations draw upon material from this book and audiences find communication ideas to use right away.

She has authored six other books and in one she created the S.H.I.F.T. change model, which is taught in colleges and used by both individuals and businesses to reach their goals. This process is outlined in Make Your Shift: The Five Most Powerful Moves You Can Make to Get Where YOU Want to Go and is featured on her website She also authored Self-Talk for a Calmer You, published by Adams Media.

For the last 15 years Beverly has run a successful business as a corporate consultant. She is also a professor at Suffolk University teaching undergraduate and graduate students, "Small Business Management", "Leadership and Social Responsibility" "Organizational Behavior" and "Dealing with Difficult People", a course she created for the University. Beverly is a Certified Hypnotist, Certified Hypnosis Trainer, Reiki Master Attunement Practitioner, Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA) and Certified Professional Values Analyst (CPVA). She uses the DISC and PIAV tools frequently in her work with individuals and organizations.

Beverly hosted her own television show called "Human Behavior Coach TV". She is an expert in sales, marketing, behavioral styles, hypnosis, time management, change management, communication and business building.


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This Post Has 11 Comments

      1. Maybe your husband’s Asperger syndrome is aggravated by your bad attitude and negative energy. Just a thought.

        1. maybe. And maybe – having spent over 30 years giving in and appeasing and taking second place, and doing what HE wants to keep the peace, and not being able to converse because he is always on another planet; just maybe that has knocked out so much of my stuffing that I struggle just to get through the day. It is easy for someone to ‘come in’ and see him as ‘fine’ and wonder what the fuss is about. Just try it 24/7

  1. Just a thought. Men are from Mars, and women are from Venus. Were just from different planets. That is like a Russian, and a Chinese are talking. They don’t understand each other. Take off the filters, and judge yourself. Take a moment, before you respond. Processes what the other person is saying. Yes I try to understand other people. I for one, love to talk. I think I have a great voice. I try to be herd, and understood. Like you say Beverly, filters are to loud, to even hear myself, and understand what I’m saying, because I can barely hear what comes out of my mouth. I think I’m right, and you just don’t understand. That is my ego. Because I think I’m all that. Me, Me, Me. Ego. You, are more important than I. Don’t get me wrong, I like to talk to others, see where, and what they have to say, and see if I had gone through that, to say my experience could help them.
    This is my version of how to understand, having a relationship.

  2. “….and yet we believe everyone should see things the way we do.” That…in the proverbial nutshell, is such a pivotal realization. The misperception that ‘my way’ is, no doubt, superior…. It takes a conscious effort to elevate that viewpoint a notch or two; to actually realize that there are a myriad of angles from which we can each perceive the same thing…and that they’re all equally valid.

  3. Great reminder regarding getting to know people. I think this can be a big help in the work place to increase worker satisfaction and thus productivity. Team building!

  4. Thank you for your inspiration:) Yes, it worked for me to drop our own assumption about what’s right or wrong, and focused on the other person by asking questions, so the other person reflexed her/himself. And finally the other person find ways to find their solution.

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