Words inspired by Confucius as quoted from The Analects
[A good man] does not worry about not being known by others but rather worries about not knowing them.
I think many of us raised in the Western tradition has heard the quote attributed to Socrates, "Know thyself" as the first step to wisdom. By the same token, to know oneself seems to me to be a foundational exercise to knowing someone else. When I know who I am, how I came to be, how and why I act, react, and behave in certain ways with both honesty and kindness, I become more equipped to lend the same curiosity, study, and awareness toward those around me. Most importantly, I become better at listening.
So often, I find myself wanting to be heard, to be understood and not misinterpreted that all that matters is to hear my own voice, to project my own perspective, to clarify my own intention. George Orwell once said that "Perhaps one did not want to be loved so much as to be understood." Well, what happens when everybody prioritizes this for himself over love? Is there a chance for mutual awareness? Is there ultimately more understanding? My guess is that people end up even more dissatisfied with their relationships.
And so I want to begin by knowing myself. When I know myself, maybe it won't matter so much if someone doesn't understand me. It's not always in my control, but what I can choose to do is try to understand them. Broadening my understanding of anyone I come into contact with can be only more food for wonder, for compassion, for connection and love. So, why not?