What is Understanding ? Learn more, it will help you immensely

What is Understanding ? Learn the several ways, it will help you immensely

Understanding – most important in life

The word Understanding is most essential in life. It is the Crème de la Crème of words. From the simplest meaning and usage of the word to the highest and complex, it is one of the most important, if not the most important word in the vocabulary, for everyone.

What is the main difference between Knowing and Understanding?

In simple terms, understanding is deeper than knowing. Knowing is getting information, facts, data, knowledge about something. You know about something, you file it and the buck stops there. Understanding is be aware of the full ramifications of something. And, when it is applied to relationships, feelings etc., it involves empathy and identification with another person’s feelings. It can change the quality of life, for the one who understands and the one who is understood.


Understanding can be done in several aspects of Life. Let’s learn more about them.

Understanding in the sense of Knowing

mountain climbing

In ordinary life, anything we undertake becomes easier and more effective if we do it with understanding. Knowing something is theoretical. But to really absorb its meaning and grasp and assimilate its pros and cons is understanding it.

Let’s take the example of going on a diet. We know that dieting means we have to eat less as well as eat healthy. But if we don’t understand its ramifications, what it entails, what are its pros and cons, what are its difficulties and benefits, the fact that diet alone is not enough, it has to be accompanied by regular exercise etc., we may probably fail in our endeavor due to lack of understanding of the whole picture.

Let’s take the example of going mountain climbing. We may know the route, the height to reach, the equipment we need, how much time we need etc. But the physical strength and effort it will take and the mental strain and stress it may cause, the lasting injuries or illnesses it may cause, these have to be thought out and understood for the trip to be successful.

Understanding in the sense of Learning


Once again, let’s take the example of going on a diet. We know what it means and what to do. But when we start practicing, we encounter difficulties. We are not able to keep up with it. We invariably want to drop it. Why? Because dieting is not just a physical activity, it involves mental training. It is learning that it is enough if we eat less, and why it is enough if we eat less. It is understanding that food is, most of the times, an escape from facing and dealing with our problems in life.

When we are in need of emotional security and self-adequacy, food appears to be a way of obtaining these. It is understanding that eating is just for a few minutes, and after eating all the inadequacies and depression come back. It is comprehending that getting involved in a physical activity, or taking up a simple hobby, or doing some creative work, or even doing some simple, mechanical, routine chores can produce the same satisfaction as food does and, in fact, these may enhance the feeling of self-worth and confidence. It is understanding, “I have a purpose in life. I have been put here on this world for a purpose. I am as important as anyone else, if not more. And I don’t need food to feel it.” This is understanding and not just knowing.

In the same way, in every venture of ours, in addition to knowing about it, if we understand and learn about it, it is bound to be a success. Even if it is not successful from a monetary or popularity point of view, it will be a success because we did the job with understanding to the best of our ability, and that satisfaction is the real success. The reason is, we have some control over our actions, but we do not any control over the results.

Understanding in Relationship With Others

The most difficult thing in life is to be understanding to others

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The most difficult thing in life is to be understanding to others, but it is the most beneficial and rewarding for the one who understands and the one who is understood. I cannot emphasize enough the enormous significance of being understanding to others. It really helps us as well as others.

Let’s take a very simple example.  If someone in the family, adult or kid, breaks a glass or a vase, the normal reaction would be to get upset and show that feeling in the face and say some harsh words.  But if we could control the immediate reaction of anger or irritation, and say “That’s alright! It happens to everyone.  Hope you didn’t get hurt!”, then this is understanding.

Let’s take the example of taking on someone into your household for a while. This person is away from home and has come to live in a totally different environment. This experience will not be a happy one unless there is understanding by both the parties.

You have to understand that this person “must feel strange, must feel homesick, so let’s be understanding and make them feel at home. 

The person who comes into your home has to be understanding too. He or she has to understand that “these people are putting me up. They love me and are allowing me to be part of their family. Let me be as helpful and cooperative with them. 

So, unless there is understanding all around, this whole thing will turn out to be an unpleasant experience, if not a disaster. So, understanding is very important.

To be a friend in need is a classic example of being understanding. 

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To be a friend in need is a classic example of being understanding. When someone is going through a rough time, to be a listening wall does wonders to heal them. Just to keep listening when they ramble helplessly about their problem is godliness. To say a kind word or give a gentle suggestion, to help a little when a friend is sick, to babysit a friend’s child to give the parents a break – how can anyone put a value on this kind of selfless love? If this is not understanding, what is? I think to have a true, good friend is the most wonderful thing in the world.

Understanding to Immediate Family Members

A romantic couple say to each other, “I love you!”. 

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A romantic couple say to each other, “I love you!”. But after the initial excitement vanishes, they fight with each other all the time or even divorce each other. This is because they don’t care to understand each other. Without trying to understand the other person’s needs and worries, no one can be happy with others. Here is an easy formula for a successful family: “To understand and to tolerate each other”. It is as simple as that. I always believe that simple solutions make the best solutions for even difficult problems. The range should be Simple……to……Complex. And it should always start with Simple. Sometimes, getting professional counseling before undertaking an involved venture can be helpful in preparing us for reality. This is understanding.

The word Understanding gets its standing ovation especially when it comes to children

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The word Understanding gets its standing ovation especially when it comes to children – babies, toddlers, kids, and teenagers. It is demanding and exhausting to be understanding to children, but it is worth it. When you look back and think about it later in life, not only will you be satisfied about it, but your children will also have turned out to be great. All because you took the time to be understanding.

Let’s use the same simple example here too.  If someone in the family, adult or kid, breaks a glass or a vase, the normal reaction would be to get upset and show that feeling in the face and say some harsh words.  But if we could control the immediate reaction of anger or irritation, and say “That’s alright! It happens to everyone.  Hope you didn’t get hurt!”, then this is understanding.


Many parents place the burden of their unfulfilled desires and aspirations on their children.


Many parents place the burden of their unfulfilled desires and aspirations on their children. There is a fine line that crosses between encouragement and putting pressure. It is absolutely crucial to understand the difference between these two.

The classic dilemma for a parent is, “Should I encourage my child with slight force to pursue creative activities or hobbies, even if they don’t seem to like it? Or should I just let them be?”

The answer is this simple word: Motive. What is the motive behind your desire? Is it because
1) You want to fulfill your dreams and desires through your children?
2) You want to compare with the children of your relatives, friends and neighbors and be boastful?
3) You want to introduce them to activities that may develop their inborn talents and give them fulfillment later in their lives?

If your motive is #3, yes, sure enough you should encourage, persuade or even gently force your children to take up creative hobbies. But you should never make them feel bad. This is not love, folks! 

Kids and teenagers are very smart.

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children 2

Kids and teenagers are very smart. They are intelligent, and sometimes wise too. But most of all, they have fresh minds. Have you seen the fresh flowers? They are absolutely gorgeous! So is a kid’s mind. It is fresh. 

So it is wise for us to listen to them when they say something. Old habits of saying, “You better do this because I am your parent and I am telling you to do so”, are not wise. When children have a reason for their actions, or an explanation, or a suggestion or idea for something, a parent would be smart and wise to listen to them. This is understanding.

Understanding to Strangers

understanding 2

Being understanding to our own family members, close friends or relatives is itself a great thing to do. But when we extend our understanding to people we don’t know but happen to come across our lives, it is simply magnificent. The emotional gratification that comes out of being kind and understanding to strangers cannot be explained in words. 

And even more fulfilling and satisfying is being kind and understanding to children and teenagers who are not related to us. Kids are innocent and vulnerable. When they suffer, it breaks one’s heart. So to be understanding to any child or teenager, and to give them a helping hand, to be kind to them, to improve their self-confidence will produce amazing happiness to everyone. Kids are the future citizens of this world. To make them good and happy people is to have a good and happy world.

Understanding in the Spiritual Sense


In the spiritual sense too, this word is of utmost importance.

With regard to other people’s religions, understanding means tolerance.


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With regard to other people’s religions, understanding means tolerance. People take about 20 years to get a degree in a college, but they judge a religion in 5 minutes. Just because one is brought up in a certain religion does not necessarily mean that all other true and ancient religions that do good for the people are stupid and useless.  Religion in Sanskrit actually means “personal opinion”. Various religions are there to suit the different kinds of people. Therefore, to laugh at, to make fun or to degrade an ancient, proven religion and its practices is unwise and imprudent.  

In fact, it absolutely amazes me…


In fact, it absolutely amazes me that some people who are intellectual giants, high-tech geniuses and billionaires are totally ignorant when it comes to spiritual knowledge. But some of the so-called illiterate people turn out to be truly spiritual. So we have to understand that true spirituality is to gain real and lasting peace of mind and happiness. One should also understand that there should be no “holier than thou” for true spiritual progress, and that humility is the cornerstone of spiritual success.  The only prerequisite for spirituality is the earnest desire to be free from pain and misery. And the only goal is happiness.

One thing of importance about spirituality is this:


One important thing about spirituality is this:  spiritual wisdom and peace of mind have nothing to do with how rich or poor a person is.  It does not have to do with who or where one is. It has to do with the mind and methods to create happiness and peace of mind in it. This is Understanding about Spirituality.

The Final Word


The beginning and final word in life, in my opinion, is understanding.  If this word is not there in the vocabulary, we will be lost.  So let’s try it today, a little Understanding of something or someone, rather than just knowing. It may create some cheer and joy in our lives and those of others. It may help us all immensely.

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