You would be hard pressed to find someone who can’t relate to that statement. We all grew up wanting to be understood at every step of the way, and that hasn’t changed. You can see it clearly in the frustrated eyes of an infant throwing a tantrum because no one can figure out what they want.
We were born to express ourselves & communicate, so when your thoughts are not heard or comprehended, it can make you feel a sense of emotional claustrophobia.
Personally, when I feel like my thoughts about something important haven’t been clearly articulated, I feel a rush of urgency…almost a sense of panic. Why don’t you get what I’m saying???? I need to break out of that box and make sure my thoughts are understood by the other.
Certainly this arbitrary stress isn’t healthy in and of itself, but the fact that I do it speaks to a deeper universal truth: understanding is the basis for communication.
Quite frankly, mutual understanding is the reason communication exists. If you cannot be understood, then you cannot communicate.
Just a word of caution: DO NOT confuse comprehension with agreement.
Usually when I ask someone if they understand me, I need to explain that I am not asking if they agree with me. Agreement is very different from understanding. To agree, you must first understand, then you must also share the same opinion.
In life, we must strive for understanding. Mutual understanding is better for the entire world.
Try hardest to understand your enemies. You do not need to agree or endorse anything to understand it. Take the leap, and put yourself into the shoes of another at all times.
Take on their perspective, their opinions and their motivations in order to understand them. Try on all the clothes in their mental wardrobe. Pretend you are them, what would you do or think? Only once you can imagine yourself as another can you begin to understand them.
Sure, perhaps you reject everything about someone’s point of view or perspective, but for a moment, try on those thoughts and just understand them. It’s what you would want someone to do for you.
After all, we all just want to be understood.