to be understood as to understand

O Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved, as to love with all my soul.

The above is part of the song Make Me a Channel of Your Peace, which we used to sing in church, and has always been etched in my mind. It is based on the Prayer of St. Francis.

It is inherent in us, to want to be understood. We want others to understand us- our words, our actions, our thoughts and beliefs, and ourselves for everything that we are. Who wants to be misunderstood? Who can tolerate being misunderstood? Don’t we all at times, run away from misunderstandings and related misgivings, when we can’t bring ourselves to confront them in an attempt to clear the air? Don’t we all sometimes, estrange ourselves from the people who can’t seem to understand us, and disagree with anything and everything that we say or do?

But do we understand? Do we try to understand the people around us and the people we love? Their words, their actions, their motivations behind them, their thoughts and beliefs, and everything that they stand for? Aren’t we all sometimes too, a little indifferent to them? 

Must we be understood first, before we can understand? Or should we understand first, before looking to be understood?

How many times have i felt so misunderstood? How many times have i felt like no one understands? Truth be told, it has happened so many times, i’ve began to believe that there is no one in the world who is truly capable of understanding. This is with my belief that i have attempted to understand first, before wanting to be understood. And it is till today that i still believe that no matter how much i have tried to understand where people are coming from, i am still grossly misunderstood.

I am still being told by the people around me till today, that i am not alone, and that they understand. And when i hear these, i find it so dismal and sad. Because no they don’t understand. Because they don’t know that i’ve never felt so alone before, since i fell into depression. In my journey battling depression, one of the worst things to have happened is the realisation that nobody truly understands. That everyone are equally antagonistic and judgemental. And all of these, despite having a very small group of confidants whom i trust with my thoughts and emotions, and would probably be the least of the antagonistic and judgmental people.

I don’t trust anyone anymore. Not even my confidants who have been a great pillar of support through this journey. In the end, even the ones who could and would understand and empathise, are the ones who just cannot understand any further. The ones who have been with me in my journey to recovery are now the ones whom i am fighting against.

All because i feel like i am grossly misunderstood, and the mindset that any attempts to set the record straight and clear the air will be ultimately futile.

But everyday, i still make it a point to always understand first, whether or not i will be understood later. It is damned if i do, and damned if i don’t- i will be misunderstood all the same. So why not? I am only afraid if there should be a day in which i will cease to first understand, and i hope that never happens.

What would i give to be understood? Nothing maybe. And what would i give to understand entirely? Everything perhaps.

Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen
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