YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND ME!4:34 PM
Today has been a day of understanding.
I woke up realizing, "The reason I counsel other people is because I want to find someone with the same problems and personality as I. And when I do, and if I solve their problems, I can fix my own and understand myself. And once I understand myself, I will be able to explain myself in such a way that everyone will be sympathetic to my weaknesses and impressed with my abilities, and then I will always be loved."
I repeated this revelation to my roommate over a lunch of overpriced macaroni-and-cheese while my boyfriend's bro looked on: "But I realized that this is all pointless because I feel like if I do understand myself fully than I will hate myself, because what if I only find myself worth justifying because I truly don't understand myself and am in total denial?"
Once she stopped laughing, Claire said, "Bailey, you don't need to understand yourself."
"Yes, Bailey," the boyfriend's friend echoed patiently. "Socrates said to Know thyself. So yes, know your weaknesses, but you don't need to understand yourself."
"BUT I DON'T WORK THAT WAY."
The problem compounded itself during class today as a very intelligent professor tried to explain a very dense author to a very dull mind: "There's a difference between meaning and significance in a verbal expression."
What. (And you're probably saying What too because I threw that at you with no context. At least your level of consternation now lies in sympathy with mine.)
For the past two weeks of this class, I could not wrap my mind around meaning and significance being two separate things. How can there be true meaning without the person understanding why I am saying this and agreeing with me in totality?
All my life, whenever somebody said, "You're a Jezebel" or "You're wrong" or simply, "I don't agree with you," my gut reaction screams, You just don't understand me! Because if you did understand me, you'd agree with me.
I think this stems first of all from me usually assuming I'm right simply because I overthink things and then come to unshakable conclusions.
I think, also, that nobody really seeks to understand what anybody is saying. Nobody stops to listen to the full argument. Communication solves everything. Almost everything. So when something is still broken, more dialogue needs to happen. People tend to treat each other as if life is one big Fox news talk show, and the person who asserts his opinion loudest wins. As if it's about avoiding conflict with another person by crushing them.
Life isn't one big Fox news talk show. People are like deep works of literature that need to be reread and reread and reread. They yield something different every time. You need more than off-hand comments and small talk and shutting the other person down in order to understand someone...much less love him.
Where was I? Understanding. Yes, understanding...and the difference between meaning and significance.
Take, for example, the conversation Mary had with her parents about an angelic visitation resulting in pregnancy.