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By Dr. Ram Ramcharran

As you get older you soon realize that the world works only if you can be understanding and tolerant of others' feelings and concerns. These days it is easier to shut down and not worry about others but only focus on your own feelings.

When you do so, you are limiting yourself to your own selfish thoughts. You see, the greatest gift you can give some one is recognizing that their feelings are as important as your own. When you take a dogmatic approach, like "I am right and you are wrong," that attitude quickly suppresses any understanding that may occur between the parties.

When you are able to recognize the importance of someone else's feelings and able to compromise on the circumstance, or more importantly, able to learn that both parties may have legitimate concerns and issues, then there is room for understanding. When one party just shuts down, there is no room for compromise or understanding and that brings you to an impasse.

When an impasse occurs, it will be up to one of the parties to step back and reevaluate if this issue is worth arguing about or just letting it go. You see, no matter what you think or say, you can't change other people's thoughts or beliefs. You only can focus on getting them to understand your concerns and that it is okay to disagree or agree -- but you make certain that they realize that you are doing so because otherwise there will be no resolution to the issue.

No matter what the results are, the more understanding and tolerant you become, the more likely you will be able to grow as a person. If you continue to focus on what you can't control then your understanding goes right out the window and that is something that will lead you down the path of destruction.

Remember, no matter what the situation is, you must remind yourself that you can settle it by becoming understanding. It does not mean you have to like the outcome; you just have to accept it and understand that maybe there is more to life than getting your point heard. Become more understanding and your life will be much better off for it, for you and the people around you.

Excerpted with permission from the book "Reflections of Life"

Iceni Books, Pages 91, $11.95

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