The Illusion of Understanding

​I should have posted this since Friday but thoughts about how to reduce this post’s shabbiness prevented me. It’s an idea, not properly ironed out upstairs. I’m sorry. I know this post can’t be shabbier but forgive it — and me for making you have to go through the tedious process of *deshabbilizing* it mentally. But this it…

When I was younger, I used to hear stories about people who committed suicide and I used to think thoughts close to: He just didn’t have a life. Common, was it that bad? I mean, I get how hard that is, but suicide? He killed himself because of that? Well… That was until I started to think about it too. I never really put myself in their shoes, I just judged their sanity. Many people around me did so too.

We never really understand how a shoe’s bite affects the wearer. There is something about us judging people from our boxes, sometimes believing that we have put ourselves in their shoes — in their situations, judging/evaluating people with ideas we have formed about how their world should be or feel like.

And for the few of us who are genuinely empathetic, who really try to understand, how close we get to really understanding what something is like for someone else is only measured by our minds. Often we, even with our level of open mindedness and, or, concern, are wrong. We understand best, how it must have felt to be in a particular situation when we ourselves are faced with something similar. But to assume we perfectly understand simply because we’ve been through similar experiences is erroneous. We forget how different people are. How the slight differences in the identicalness of two situations make huge differences. How we, even under the same conditions, all have different pain, suffering, etc thresholds.

I made a mistake not too long ago — I suspected it would be but wasn’t sure until I made it — of trying to explain to someone what it is like for me in social situations, in front of people; crowds or not, familiar faces or not, how nervous I get, how I can’t think, how it is for me. And really, he kept saying he understood — It’s not that hard, Oh. I understand perfectly, This thing you’re saying is nothing, It’s like when I was…, — using shabby personal analogies — shabbier than the ones I use — that didn’t even reflect my situation; that painted a faint and oversimplified picture. He said he used to be shy and blah blah blah but from all he said it was clear that he just didn’t see. Then, I had the small misfortune of having someone butt in and say I just didn’t want to do the things I complained about, that there’s no such thing as me not being able to — which, if better put, could’ve have been inspirational. He thought I was just lazy and reluctant. Now, both felt they understood — at different levels though — but neither actually did get me. I didn’t argue because there was no point. If I argued further I would just get labeled for trying to paint a bleaker than it  is situation and they wouldn’t have shifted from their seat of justified assumption.

I’m simply trying to say:

What we think or our experiences are not a yardstick for measuring how others should be or not be affected by certain situations. We shouldn’t assume we know. It’s not wise to.

Forgive The Shabbiness…

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