- Thoughts for inspired living

February 13, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:29 am

Many people are looking to be understood. It won’t happen in this lifetime. In fact, if you are reincarnated into another life, you won’t be understood there either.

Understanding is for algebra, or languages. You can also understand how to assemble a bike, a car, or a bouquet for Valentine’s Day, but you’ll never understand people and you’ll never be understood.

When someone tells you they understand your situation, they are lying. It can be no other way. In order for them to understand you, they would have to be you, and even then there is no guarantee. It’s actually an insult to say this to another, “I understand how you feel.” I think there ought to be a law that permits you to kick someone when they say that to you, because they have just delivered a blow with their comment.

When you look for understanding or attempt to bestow it, you will move further away from the person you are seeking to get it from or give it to – not closer.

You think you are dispensing or receiving the milk of human kindness with understanding, when in fact; a wedge is being driven between you and another.

People have different reactions to the same stimulus – even identical twins. Everyone catalogues things differently. So when you tell someone that you understand, you are telling them you are processing the stimulus with the exact same information they have. That’s not humanly possible. Remember this: Human storage of information isn’t modeled after computers; it’s the other way around. You become like a computer when you look for or attempt to dispense understanding. I’m not sure I want a computer holding my hand in my time of need.

This concept may disturb your ego a bit. Don’t blame me; blame Dr. Dave Dobson. He’s the fellow I first heard it from. Dave will tell you that the closest you can get to understanding is appreciation.

You can appreciate what another is going through but you’ll never understand it. You could have the exact same situation as a stimulus and your response will be unique to you. Don’t believe me, ask a police officer at the scene of an accident. Look at the witness statements. They viewed the same crash from the same vantage point and oftentimes tell opposite stories.

It may seem like the splitting of semantic hairs to use the word “appreciate” vs. “understand.” The real test of the accuracy of this approach is to validate it in your own experience. It’s not true because I say it or Dave says it, and it’s not true if you judge this concept in your head. It’s only true if it works for you. You’ll never know unless you pull it out of the tool box and use it.

You’ll never understand your son or daughter even if they are flesh and blood. You’ll never understand your spouse, lover, friend or enemy, and, lord knows, you’ll never understand your parents.

You can have an appreciation of another’s experience, especially if you’ve had a similar set of circumstances – but not an understanding. Even if you never state it, you communicate it. There is a different energy that goes with appreciation than there is with understanding. People feel that energy. Understanding formally cloaks itself in a superior attitude. And how close do you want to get to someone who demonstrates they are superior to you?

Appreciation is more like “Casual Friday” in dress and there is more of a connection established with others. Again, the proof lies within you, not in this blog post.

People like mantras so give this one a spin: When you appreciate, you never denigrate.

All the best,


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