Do we really know?

Not everyone will fully know or understand how bad someone feels, as Robin Williams’ case has shown.

People will understand some of what we go through, but can never fully understand how we really feel. Unless we walk a mile in another person’s shoes and experience what they experience, I don’t think they will ever understand. We often confuse knowing, with a deeper knowing.

People live their lives through a façade. An outward appearance that all is well with the world, but it’s only when the layers are peeled back that we see there is much more to what a person portrays externally. The emotions and what we feel go far beyond what we see externally and that’s the part we fail to recognise.

In some cases, we’re so often wrapped up in our own thoughts, we fail to take notice of what’s going on, or what’s obvious and staring us in the face. We must learn how to communicate so that we’re all open and honest with each other. It’s often not what people say, but what they leave out that is the key to how they’re really feeling.

That’s the part we fail to recognise and understand, but that’s the part that’s totally essential if we are to understand how we can help others to communicate how they really feel.


2 Sep, 2014

10 thoughts on “Do we really know?

  1. I don’t think we really know people. I have a best friend but I don’t know how she really feels and I’m not one to pry.

    If someone wants to tell me how they feel I am more than willing to listen attentively and give advice if needed, or sympathise with them. I sometimes hold my true feelings in and it is obvious that something is not right with me.

    I do “whine” to my husband (as he calls it, LOL), but not to others as much. Of course I don’t get out with others either. I stay at home cause I am so busy with other things I don’t have time to get out much.

    But I agree with you. I don’t think we really know people like we should.

    1. Thanks Lisa! Your second paragraph I am sure will resonate with many of us. I do believe we hold our true feelings in, either because we don’t want to hurt the other person, or we genuinely don’t know how we feel, or we’re not great at expressing how we feel.

      When we don’t say how we feel, we’re not giving the other person chance to either help or communicate with us and that can make relationships either difficult or awkward.

      In today’s society we open up less than perhaps our parents’ generation or our grandparents’ generation. I find that very sad. Not all parents are open with their children; not all families are open with each other.

  2. I guess we achieve a level of understanding that we can work with, but in my experience that doesn’t necessarily equate to really ‘knowing’ someone.

    1. Thank you. I agree we do achieve a level of understanding and you’re right that doesn’t always equate to really knowing someone.

      We tend to have to work on an intuitive level to break through the barriers and that’s not always easy to do.

  3. Yes that question says it all, as far as people not having a clue as to what other people are feeling!

    The reality is that other people can’t imagine what it’s like to deal with things like depression if they haven’t had to deal with it themselves. They act all surprised when a person like Robin Williams’ commits suicide when I can understand perfectly well why he would do it.

    There have been many times where I was in that space in my head and even attempted suicide myself, so I can understand completely. Right at that moment in time nothing else matters but just making the pain stop!

    Most of the judgements that people make come from the stereotypes of what we’re supposed to be like as people. God forbid you have any “issues” that people consider to be like leprosy, where you’re expected to be labelled as one of the “untouchables!”

    There is such a stigma about things like mental illness and alcoholism that still exists today! People still think we choose to be this way, which is so very far from the truth I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy!

    I could go on at length about this issue but the reality is that you never can really fully know what someone else is feeling if they don’t tell you.

    1. Thanks Randy. Dealing with what you had to deal with Randy, must have been very difficult for you. It’s a catch 22, others don’t always know what to say when someone deals with depression and/or alcoholism and we don’t always want or feel we can talk, because others either clearly don’t understand, or don’t try.

      You’re absolutely right about the stigma attached to these illnesses. I feel for everyone who has been or is dealing with these issues.

      Society in general needs to have more understanding and compassion around mental illness, drugs and alcoholism. This needs to come into the twenty first century in a way that helps people overcome these problems.

      I hope more will be done in time to break the stigma people face in society, because they deal with these things. We need more compassion.

  4. I think people have no clue of how my life is with CP.

    They might see this person who’s smiling all the time, but they don’t know it’s a daily struggle physically and emotionally. Anyway, I find it difficult to relate with someone that doesn’t fully understand what I go through.

    Like Lisa, I whine to my husband. He understands me or tries to understand me.

    1. Thanks Maria. I think you’re absolutely right in what you say. As you so eloquently put it, underneath your smile there is a part of you that struggles with what you deal with.

      Honestly, I’m not really sure people equate or understand how to deal with people who struggle with a disability. I really do believe and say this with the utmost respect about people, but we need to be more educated on how to help people deal with their disabilities.

      Society has never adapted or accepted that there are people who will always be different and may always need help with what they deal with. Disability really does need to be an accepted part of society. We need to be able to fit in. People need to let us fit in. Society has a long way to go.

      I’m pleased you have someone you can ‘whine to.’ It’s nice to know or have someone who tries to at least understand what we deal with. Glad you have that.

  5. It’s simply primitive to think someone is different just because they’re not like you.

    And I doubt if we’ll ever really know someone; people change characters smack in the middle of the play.

    1. Thanks Tim. Yes a lot of things do come into play and are the reason people’s characters change, ‘smack in the middle of play.’

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