Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Yesterday I had a couple in my office and one word from the session jumped out and continues to ring for me today. The word was "just;" in particular, the phrase was, "I just want you to understand..."

We have a tendency to think this way, that to ask someone to "just understand" is a modest expectation. I don't think so. To truly understand other people we would have to know everything about what makes them tick and to be privy to all their inner workings. Even people who are in long-term marriages can't know every unconscious motivation or dynamic in the other. Hells bells, we can't even know all the unconscious workings in ourselves. 

To some extent or another, our understanding of another person is limited. Asking someone to understand our position is, in fact, a pretty substantial request and, sometimes, an impossible task. Instead it might be better to start here: "You may not totally understand but I am asking that you accept what I am saying anyway."


ashley said...

i like this idea....even for understanding myself. sometimes i think if i understand the roots of why i feel whatever i do i will somehow be able to control or change it.....that hasn't worked (if at all) as well as simply accepting the reality of the feeling as it is now.

Liz said...

seems like a good plan, ashley. i do believe there are things about other people AND things about ourselves that we will never understand.

Anonymous said...

Your reply to Ashley got me thinking.... I haven't considered that possibility much... that there are things about myself I will never understand. (I did learn long ago there are things about other people I will never understand.) I tend to figure the answer must be in there somewhere when it comes to myself. It's a bit of a relief actually to think of chalking some of it up to mystery and leaving it alone.

Liz said...

mystery is a good word, a. to me, it's all a work in progress, including the work of understanding ourselves.