The idiom, “I’ll believe it when I see it” might better serve said: “I’ll see it when I believe it.”
It’s when you believe something that seeing happens. This is why everything around us tend to support our beliefs. This is why we are always right. We see what we want to see. Or, we see what we want to believe.
Likewise, trying to understand someone after thinking “I don’t understand them,” might better serve by beginning with, “I understand.”
I understand that I’m looking at this through my own lens, through my own experiences, capacities and limitations.
I understand that I don’t know their inner world, experiences, capacities and limitations, even if I’ve known them for an entire lifetime, because I don’t live in their skin, and I won’t pretend to.
I understand that sitting where I am doesn’t mean that I know better.
I understand that their experience is real for them, and I am not here to tell them they are wrong.
Might I point out, the key word in trying to understand is TRYING? How often has trying to understand taken you out of frustration? It’s not until you decide to understand, or that you are open to understanding, that understanding happens. This is when those around you feel understood, soften their armor, and offer the possibilities of being understood as a two-way street. Because you have done it first.