Someone has just explained their idea, feeling, or opinion to you. You think you understand. But you don’t get to decide whether you understand someone else’s thoughts and feelings— they do.
So, ask for confirmation. E.g.: “Let me see if I’m getting this right, you think/feel XXX, because YYY… Is that why?”
I call this process of asking questions ‘parroting’.
When you do this, try to reduce the number of assumptions you make. Look for feelings of certainty, and ask about them.
Expect this to be fairly difficult. It is probable that your first attempt at parroting will not satisfy the other person. But this is good!—you would’ve lived with false certainty if you had not tried this.
Repeat. When they are satisfied with your understanding, you are done.
Drawing © Ariana Dyer.