OK! OK! I Get It!

by Fionn Zarubica

fionn-zarubica-4So here’s my question…

Why do my homefolk here in Serbia feel the need to repeatedly tell me that I do not understand how broke everyone is? 

What is not to understand?  Do I seem unintelligent? Do I give the impression of being unobservant? Do people think I have never been broke? 

When one person says they understand and the other person tells them that they do not, there is so much judgment in the mix. It is a rejection of the other person’s compassionate generosity and empathic evolution. 

Do you know where I have been? Have you walked a kilometer in my moccasins?  Do you know what I have experienced and seen? Do you know how my heart cries out? Do you know if I am in anguish now?

Why is your pain so much more special?

It is interesting to me how pain compounds itself. You feel pain so you reject my offering of peace and acceptance.  

What we all need to do is to really listen to one another respectfully.  Take it as a given that what each person is saying to us is the truth. It is important that we not diminish the love that is offered because we feel that the other person’s level of understanding does not live up to our perception of the importance of our particular pain. 

And, don't worry, just because someone understands does not mean that you have to relinquish your suffering.  You can keep doing it as long as you like.

When it comes to interactions and communication, I am just not that complicated.  If I tell you I understand, then I understand.  If I tell you I love you, then I love you.  If you are good to me, and even if you are not, then I will be good to you.  If you are flawed, I will smile and maybe even applaud you because I am more flawed and do not mind as long as no one is getting hurt.  

I love you, I understand, get over it.

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  1. You're right. People bristle when told they're "understood." Perhaps because being understood feels like being reduced to something less than we are, like water being boiled down to steam. In the end,  "I understand you" is a statement that celebrates the capacities of the person doing the understanding. It's not about the object of  "understanding" at all.

    Can a person or his pain––with his rich history, his peculiarities, gifts and weaknesses, the accidents of birth, history, and fate to which he's been subjected––be compressed and swallowed by another like pill or capsule?  We are mysterious. This is why, perhaps, teenagers have so much trouble talking with their parents. Revelling in fresh power and a new sense of self, they feel passionately that for their musty parents to truly "understand" them means that they are somehow like them–impossible that musty old things could ever resemble a butterflies.  

    I am not sure we can ever fully understand or know another–or that it is proper to try. All we can do is stay actively interested and open, respectful. 

    We are big, messy, complicated, ever-changing and of course, we have secrets. 

    Though all of us will probably confront similar challenges–lack of money, lack of support from friends or family, disappointment, unemployment, loneliess, and the failure and betrayal of our own bodies––we suffer, err, and fail in our own unique ways–many of which are deeply private.