We have all experienced the feeling of not being understood, of being in a situation or relationship where our motives, needs or actions are misinterpreted or worse, not considered at all. How wonderful it is then to experience understanding! To respond with understanding is to be open to a person’s self-revelation, to assess what the other is feeling and let him/her know that we have heard. This is the gift we can offer others, that we move beyond our own need to the need of another. It is to let others know they are accepted not judged, that we see their worth and that we feel with them. Understanding is involvement with as well as reverence for the other which gives both encouragement and support.
O Divine Master grant that I may not so
To be understood as to understand.
In your relationships with others, try to assess what the other is feeling and not focus only on yourself. Try to listen and respond with understanding.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me sow love.|
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is despair, hope…
O Divine Master, grant that I may not
so much seek–
To be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand…”
Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
“Come and see a man who has told me everything I ever did!”
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain but it takes character and self- control to be understanding and forgiving.
The reality of the other person is not in what he reveals to you, but in what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says but rather what he does not say.
It is quite clear that between love and understanding there is a very close link…He who loves understands, and he who understands loves. One who feels understood feels loved, and one who feels loved feels sure of being understood.”
Do not blame other’s weaknesses, understand them.
Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Understanding is a two-way street.