Why don't we understand each other?

Why don’t we understand each other?

Do you notice what you think? Take a closer look. Thoughts come to you “on their own”. Ready-made. You don’t design them. This work is done by the unconscious. It makes its invisible calculations and sells them to the mind in a wrapper of ready-made conclusions. Say, here’s the holy truth – take it as it is.

Our unconscious does not see life in its simple immediacy. Interprets each phenomenon as a symbol of something else. As if the external reality is talking to our gut. But not directly and honestly. And in hints and equivocations.

Moreover, not only people “hint” to us, but also things and events. All around there are signs and symbols.

We do not even notice how irrational and symbolic we look at the world. We do not think for ourselves. The unconscious thinks for us. And we just believe in these thoughts.


Problem 1
Petya is tense due to lack of sleep. But Masha thinks that his frown symbolizes condemnation. Moreover, he condemns something specific. “The same“, For which Masha judges herself. How many hours did Petya sleep today?

Task 2
Having started to study programming, Petya makes logical mistakes of a beginner – not all at once. But each mistake additionally “hints” to him: “nothing works and will not work. Therefore, it is not worth trying“. How many days will Petya hold out without giving up?

Problem 3
Masha is late for work. The subway doors close in front of her nose. “Because a loser in lifeShe decides. Returns from work in tears. How many closed doors did Masha meet that day?

Problem 4
Petya was patted on the shoulder in a friendly way. It seemed to him that it was familiar. Pointing to low dignity. How many friends does Petya have in total?

Problem 5
In a fit of passion, Petya confessed his love to Masha. She took this impulse for a promise to make her happy. How many days will it take for Masha to be disappointed?

Problem 6
Petya, without malicious intent, made an innocent joke about Masha’s belly. “Deliberately hit the sore nerve of prideMasha decided. How many gray hairs will they have today?

Problem 7
Petya drinks beer twice a week. For Masha, it is a symbol of degradation. She feels disgust and anxiety, and appeals to morality: “you can’t live like that! it is not right!“. To which Petya decides that he is being subdued like a weak-willed rag – and in protest drinks even more persistently. How many days a week does Petya need to drink to defend her dignity?

Problem 8
Once on Friday Masha smoked a cigarette, realized that she was “going all out” – and worried about her future. How many more cigarettes does Masha need to smoke to calm down?

Problem 9
Masha turned away to look out the window. Petya decided that his wife had turned away from him, punishing him for something … He felt the “injustice” of the gesture. And he continued the conversation in a dry tone, “explaining” this her guilt. Masha, not knowing the background, decided that her husband was “completely swollen,” because she did not respect her at all and kept her for a servant, as did the former … How many hours of the Cold War would they need to achieve peace?


Now remember that all these conclusions are made automatically in the depths of the soul. And people themselves do not understand what they feel and what they react to. As if they communicate on three streams at the same time: the superficial mind responds to words, the semi-conscious part – to intonation, and the unconscious sees metaphors of fate in everything and reacts with mood.

The very situation when you have not yet understood what you feel, but you already “know” – the person next to you is to blame. And I must repent. “In fairness.” Already blissfully anticipating his guilty admission of his wrongness, and he takes it, and does everything the other way around: instead of apologizing, he runs in … And at this moment, the “feeling of an ongoing injustice” begins to burst forth monstrously. I would like to put him in his place decisively and unceremoniously. You can use your fist right away. So that he immediately understands how much he was wrong.

And the trouble is not that you do not understand the person next to you. And in the fact that it seems as if you understand. It is this illusion that gives rise to conflicts.

We ourselves do not notice how much we think out. We attribute symbolic super-meanings to simple words and gestures. And then, confident as if we understood everything, we react to our self-deception.

A kind of theater of animated puppets, which fancies that the manipulations of the puppeteer are an expression of the ultimate truth of life.

You think you know. I am sure of this. But you don’t know why. You just “feel” like that. “Intuitively.” Based on this, you act. Naively expecting others to understand. If you don’t understand how you feel yourself, how can you count on the understanding of others?

And so everywhere. Every movement of reality is a symbol.


People don’t understand each other because they don’t even try to understand. And they do not try, because they are sure that everything is clear anyway. A mind that thinks in ready-made conclusions will take any chimera for all the obvious truth.

How to get to real understanding? Simple advice – clarify and clarify. Ask yourself more often: “what exactly am I feeling now? Why do I believe this?

If someone turned out to be “wrong”, do not rush to accuse – you will have time. Start by clarifying your feelings and motives of the abuser. What does the situation symbolize for you?

“Do I understand correctly that by your act you are showing disrespect?”

Don’t tell people how they are at fault. Talk about your symbols. It is not an easy task to reveal your feelings and express them. But if you don’t understand how you feel, is it worth it to open your mouth in the grip of indistinct emotions?

If you are being hurt, ask if it is intentional. And if you start with confident accusations, without understanding your feelings, you will deceive yourself and confuse others.

If a person acts “badly”, do not rush to tell him about it. Perhaps your “bad” does not exist in his worldview, and he will not understand your morality. But it can understand your living feelings.

Condemnation is usually perceived as psychological abuse and is greeted with protest. And honestly voicing your feelings can cause a step towards a meeting.

“You do not have to believe in my gods, and obey them, but you can respect my request. You should not do this because it is “right”, you can do this because it makes it easier for me. “

And if a person does not care about your feelings, well, then you will find out the truth, undistorted by philosophical disputes about right and wrong.

Another example. If a loved one asks you with a “small” request, do not rush to refuse. Please clarify. Perhaps this request symbolizes something more for him than you thought. It is enough to ask: “How important is it for you?”

Expressing your negative feelings constructively is an art. Conventional angry claims don’t work. You count on the benefit (repentance of the “guilty”), but the result is nothing but losses (conflicts and quarrels). On progressman.ru, I discussed this topic in more detail in the article on awareness in conflict situations.

Ask yourself more often: “What do I want to achieve on emotion? And what am I trying to achieve in fact?“. These can be completely different realities. Seeking justice usually leads to conflict. If you want to make a “profit,” why invest in a “loss”?

Mindfulness helps you notice what you are investing in here and now. We do not understand each other as long as we blindly trust our emotions and mechanically obey them.

Clarify your feelings. Clarify the feelings of people you care about. Do not be fooled as if you understand everything.

One of the main tasks that psychotherapy solves is to clarify what is happening. The psychologist teaches the client to understand the symbols of his soul. This is how awareness is cultivated. It helps to eradicate outdated automatisms. False symbols are overthrown – real life is exposed.

© Igor Satorin

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