You Don’t Need to Understand

You Don't Need To Understand | I share another story and why I no longer think understanding others is what we need to be compassionate to others.

Story time.

As a kid, I was the scrawny, quiet one lurking in the corner. And I was often misunderstood. I guess even now, I still am hehe but I accept that now. Back then, it bothered me so much.

No one, not even my family, could ever get me and that was what made me upset most of the time. That they didn’t understand. At one point, the whining turned into a self-pitying excuse. “They don’t understand me. Why?” became “They don’t understand me. Why bother?”

I isolated myself from a lot of people. Not physically. But for a long time, in my mind, I was alone in the world. Only I understand me, that’s what I always thought. It all comes back to the whole “I don’t rely on others a lot” that I told you a few posts back.

Related: What I Learned from Pushing Too Far

Now I ache for the younger me. I feel sorry she had to see the world in such miserable lenses. But I also don’t want to be like her anymore.

Recently, I see so many people who are similar to younger Kate. Misunderstood and suffering alone and living in fear that nobody will understand them.

And I also see a lot of people who are too preoccupied with what they believe in, what they think are right and how things should be, that they don’t have space in their hearts or minds to see things in any other angle. Seeing these people clash against each other in a confusing mess, that familiar thought from my childhood resurfaces, if only they understood each other…

I had to stop myself. Because I realized now that the idea of people perfectly understanding each other? Sadly, that’s not possible.

You Don't Need To Understand | I share another story and why I no longer think understanding others is what we need to be compassionate to others.

See, there’s something I learned not too long ago.

Our experiences are our own. And so are our thoughts.

Okay, make that everything in our mind.

Everything in our mind is our own.

No matter how many people claimed to have similar experiences or ideas or thoughts that you have, these will never be exactly the same as yours. Kinda like how we have our own unique set of fingerprints, you know?

And that’s just how it is.

The reason why younger Kate’s grand ambition of Everyone Perfectly Understanding Each Other won’t ever come true is because we inherently can’t. We understand things in our own ways. And so we see and comprehend seemingly similar things differently.

So if completely understanding everyone is not possible, what will happen to us? Is a compassion to many people not possible, then?

Are we forever cursed to chaos and messes brought by misunderstanding and, ultimately, hatred? (That sounded like a line from a blurb of a YA fantasy lol)

The answer came to me in a form of a photo shared on Twitter.

Of course. Respect!

(Side note: I swear, I was tearing up when I read that letter. I had to stop myself because I was in the middle of a class at the time.)

I particularly love that line: “…they did not need to understand, but they did need to show respect.” Because in that one line, this anonymous teacher from Massachusetts, who wrote this letter to the amazing Uncle Rick, gave me the answer. And it’s so simple.

You don’t need to understand everyone. You don’t even need people to understand you. You just need to respect others, whoever they are and whatever circumstances they’re in.

Because that, my awesome and beautiful friends, is the best way to show compassion to people you don’t understand.

How will you show respect and compassion to a person today? 🙂

Have a passion-filled day, awesome peeps! <3



[…] because words hurt, so we should speak of love rather than bitterness and hatred. As Kate says in this post, (a must-read) you don’t even need to understand people and their situations to show […]

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