A lot of us define ourselves by our refusal to understand others – “I can’t understand why he would do that,” “Who does that?” “Why would she do that?” – These are some of the typical statements that we say, and supposedly mean. The question is: is it really true that you don’t get it? Or are you just saying that you don’t get it?
I’m going with the latter. My guess is that you do understand and you’re just saying you don’t or you can’t to create boundaries that define who you think you are. I mean who would you be if you understood racist behavior? Who would you be if you understood cruel behavior? Who would you be if you understood unhealthy behaviors?
Many of us seem to think that understanding a terrorist means that we are encouraging the obviously wrong behavior. We seem to be so terrified of actually relating to and understanding a criminal because we think that we will automatically become an accomplice. Again, I beg to differ. I think that realizing and admitting that one understands a criminal is half the victory of overcoming destructive behaviors. Expecting a terrorist to act like a normal, healthy and sane person is unreasonable – there are obviously deep underlying issues within the psyche of such a person. There is obviously an exaggerated pathological condition that has gotten extreme enough to manifest as a suicidal freak that seeks to harm others.
Can you understand any obviously deranged behavior? Of course you can! How? Just look at yourself… okay, I’m not saying you’re an obvious case of severe pathological neurosis, but there are definitely smaller behaviors in your arsenal that you are less than proud of. Not only that, but you find it hard, if not impossible to control them!
This, my friend, is the key to relating with another. Whether they have an exaggerated, magnified case of destructive behavior, or whether it’s something as seemingly small as road rage.
Just think – that terrorist could have been you – you’re just lucky that your neurosis hasn’t reached such magnitude. You CAN understand the other by understanding yourself… and once we have a critical mass of people who understand we can move on to global healing. As always, it starts with you and me though.
You and I CAN understand – that’s one of the greatest gifts of life, the ability to understand.