U for Understanding

4:00:00 PM

John Steinbeck  once said, “Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.” 

How do you feel when you are misunderstood? Few things are more difficult to live with than being misunderstood. Sometimes it’s downright unbearable. We carry feelings of loneliness, frustration, disappointment and eventually resentment. How many times have we made the statement, “Only if he/she really understood me.”?


Father Damien was a priest who became famous for his willingness to serve lepers. He moved to Kalawao, a village on the island of Molokai in Hawaii that had been quarantined to serve as a leper colony. For sixteen years he lived in their midst. He learned to speak their language. He bandaged their wounds, embraced the bodies no one else would touch, preached to hearts that would otherwise have been left alone. He organized schools, bands, and choirs. He built homes so that the lepers could have shelter. He built two thousand coffins by hand so that when they died, they could be buried with dignity. Slowly, it was said, Kalawao became a place to live rather than a place to die, for Father Damien offered hope.

Father Damien was not careful about keeping his distance. He did nothing to separate himself from his people. He dipped his fingers in the pot bowl along with the patients. He shared his pipe. He did not always wash his hands after bandaging open sores. He got close. For this, the people loved him.
Then one day he stood up and began his sermon with two words: “We lepers.....”

The key for a strong connection in any relationship is in understanding the other person. Understanding him/her helps us to know them better. We actually form a bridge into their world getting to know what’s on their heart and mind.

In his book, “Becoming a Person of Influence”, Dr. John Maxwell says, “To understand the mind of a person, look at what he has achieved and to understand the heart of a person, look at what he dreams of becoming.”

Understanding someone is like opening a door and finding something new. The thing about people is that when you open one door and discover something you will soon find that there is another door to open. Understanding people is a lifelong process.

Take Away Principle: 

Taking time to understand people helps us to form a bridge into their world enabling us to from a stronger connection in our relationship.

Tips on understanding:

1. To understand someone, focus on their needs.
2. Remember that each person is different.
3. Take time to understand their backgrounds.
4. Learn about their past.
5. Assess their personality.

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  1. Understanding others is not so easy. You have to know the person very well before you understand him/her.

  2. I agree with Usha. Some people will always be a bit of a mystery while others are an open book and easy to understand.

  3. Understanding another person is not easy. It requires an open mind and a lot of effort. However, if done with a few persons, it soon comes naturally.

    Unfortunately, everybody wants to be understood, but only a few genuinely try to understand others.

  4. We wrote on the same subject again :)
    Understanding the other person is so crucial. But usually we are so wrapped up in our own world, our own beliefs, thoughts and views that understanding others does not feature in our list of priorities. Also it needs efforts and empathy too. Liked Father Damien's story!

  5. I've never struggled with the whole "if only s/he understood me" issue. That might be a fault of my programming oriented mind. If there is a lack of understanding, then it's probable the message conveyed is unclear or excessively complicated. Can the situation be clarified? Can it be simplified? Is understanding necessary to reach a good solution? Sometimes the end user doesn't need to understand how the program works, but only how it will help them and what are the limitations of performance. Then again, my mind might be peculiar.

  6. LOVE Calvin and Hobbs! Those are some good tips. New follower here. I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge, and I look forward to visiting again.


  7. *Bowing*
    Take that,for the wonderfulquotes you've used here.

    What in the world would we not give, for being understood in the right manner ! Every conversation gone awry, every relationship gone sour, is because of lack of understanding in the first place. There may be other factors, but this one invariably tops the list.
    Somehow, as Pro rightly says here, we all want to be understood, but don't make the effort to understand. And once we understand, we can offer the best to the other person !!


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