“Find the stories that help you comprehend the incomprehensible. Find the stories that make you stronger.”
— Eleanor Davis, How to Be Happy
The stories that give me strength are ones that deal with our understanding of ourselves and others. Ones where someone is forced to walk in another person’s footsteps and see what life is like from the inside of their head. In many of the stories and novels I have read where this has happened, it results in a certain alchemy taking place where each person takes on the characteristics of the other that they needed in order to become more successful in their own lives. Part of me has always wanted to reproduce that alchemy with almost everyone I’ve met.
We are all such mysteries to each other. We believe we have true understanding or perspective or at least enough to judge what another should do or where they are right or wrong yet seldom unaided can we truly know what it feels like for them from the inside. The funny thing is it is not all that difficult. If we start with getting to know the person, really listen to them and get a feel for their lives and experiences and how they experience them, we can begin to imagine what it is they are going through. This does not mean that we agree with their choices or would make the same ones but it means we can understand why they made them. We can experience their triumphs and what made them strong and we can know what makes them weep. The more people we can understand in this way, the stronger we become.
Click on image to see full-sized: