We can’t understand what’s going on in other people’s lives and minds unless they tell us. That’s a simple fact. We can observe and maybe determine whether someone is in a good or bad mood. We are able to detect and comprehend obvious signs of emotions, which people (deliberately) show. But the inner soul and all of its emotions are hidden and closed from view and recognition. This is a good thing. We don’t want to have all our feelings and things that matter to us written all over the face. We need to be able to decide, what we share and who we share our life and innermost thoughts and feelings with. It’s our personal right and freedom of choice.
Well, here’s the problem with it: Understanding doesn’t work like that. To understand, we need to know. We do need at least a bit of knowledge about the people we (have to) interact with.
How many times does it happen that we misunderstand things or misinterpret things – and not in a good way - just because we assume? Way too often!
For example: Someone utters a word or says something, which another person immediately picks up as an affront, just because it is something that he or she has to deal or struggle with (privately). The way it was commented on, can raise anger or pain. We don’t always know, which topic or matter is one that others might react rather sensitive on. So, hurting someone can happen absolutely unintentionally. But how are we supposed to know and prevent? We aren’t and we can’t. In those moments we can only act on the (maybe angry) reaction and realize that there is most likely a reason for it. Next time we might be more aware and choose our words wisely – like we always should!
If we share our lives with partner/kids/relatives/friends or work in a team with colleagues, we need to communicate. We need a certain amount of trust to tell others what we think and feel, to make them understand why we are acting accordingly. That’s not exactly an easy thing to do – depending on the person and relationship it concerns - but fact is: If we want to be understood, this is the way we gain sympathy.
Again: We decide, whether we want to share our private matters with others or not. Sharing can make us feel vulnerable and that’s definitely not in everyone’s interest - understandably. So, the question is: What’s the bigger risk here? We need to decide what we want and what’s more important to us – being understood and treated accordingly or keeping the (necessary?) privacy and deal with (likely) misunderstandings?
When it comes to others: What we can do, is try to understand and always choose our words wisely. We never know what a person might feel inside, but he or she is still a beautiful and feeling human being and should be treated gently and with care.