I made a mistake today.
I uttered the words ‘I understand’
It was part of ‘I feel I understand better’ so it was relative to my understanding a couple of weeks ago when we started, but still I said it.
In this case I realised my mistake quickly and I think the recognition of the client’s emotions and my apology will strengthen the relationship. But I still I made a basic mistake.
We never completely understand, ever. We empathise as best we can, we try to understand, but we can never understand fully the complexity of individuals and their very specifix circumstances.
‘I understand’ is rarely a true or helpful response. I remember the day my dog died, she had been with me my whole life and a well meaning friend said “I understand, my hamster died last year”. Instead of feeling heard and understood I felt angry that she believed in this moment she could even begin to understand how I felt.
We all make mistakes and sometimes with recognition they can be positive but it reminds me to be ever aware and never complacent!