Seek first to understand, then to be understood

In an old town somewhere in England lived two sisters named Anne and Sophie. The two sisters were raised and then got married in that same good old city. Anne was a teacher and so was her husband, Peter. They had three lovely children, two boys and one baby girl. Anne and her husband were extremely hard working. Overall they were content in their simple life. Sophie, on the other hand, was married to a rich businessman named John and they had two lovely daughters.

Although Sophie was extremely rich, she was miserable. She would often go to her sister’s home and complain about her husband over dinner. Annie always managed to stay cheerful and listen to her sister’s woes with patience. It’s true that sometimes Anne was tired of her sister’s nagging.

One day Peter overheard Sophie complaining about her husband giving more time to business than to his family. Peter empathised with John and said that it’s difficult to manage a business. Plus if he would sit at home with his family all the time, how would he earn a living! Even Anne supported her husband’s views and said that it was indeed difficult to run a family!

Sophie was annoyed at both her sister and brother-in-law! She thought that nobody understood her. For a couple of weeks, she avoided her sister and her husband. One day Anne came to visit Sophie. She asked why Sophie was not coming to their house. At this Sophie said that she felt that her sister had no sympathy for her! Anne asked but what had she done that her sister felt like that. Sophie recalled what Peter and Anne had said to her the other day! She never expected her own sister would not understand her worries.

Anne asked for forgiveness and the two sisters were merrily chatting again! Sophie requested her sister to stay for dinner. Anne knew that they had only just come to speaking terms again and so she didn’t want to annoy her sister. So she agreed to stay for dinner. On the dinner that day Sophie also invited her parents. As usual, after some discussion, Sophie started to complain. Her mother requested her to stop when an argument broke between them.

Sophie started crying like a child. She accused her mother that she never cared for her and she never listens to her problems! That their mother always listens more to Anne than her. Their mother was heartbroken. Now their father spoke. Sophie always expects to be understood but does she try to understand! Does Sophie try to understand that her own husband was not just busy but he’s working hard only to provide his wife and daughters! Does ever Sophie try to understand her sister’s problems? Or does ever Sophie ask how she was doing! Does Sophie ever ask her parents if they were well!

No! Sophie always talked about her own silly complains. She had no time to comprehend what others were going through. Their father went on. He said that Sophie was indeed selfish. Whatever her own issues were, she was a grown-up woman who could handle those gracefully. Instead, she was always whining and craving for attention. Sophie was shocked that her father said all that to her! She looked at her sister for support but Anne said that it’s okay to discuss problems but not all the time. Anne smiled and said that if the others also start to talk about themselves only how would Sophie feel? She requested her sister to first understand others before wanting others to understand her!

Moral: Seek first to understand, then to be understood

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