The healthy ability to understand and help others springs out of the ability to understand ourselves first. On an aeroplane, to be able to support and help another person to apply their oxygen mask so they can live, I have to be able to apply my own first so that I can live.
Which takes work. This process enables us to clear out the clutter that would hinder vulnerability, empathy, love, healthy kindness and potential to listen to understand instead of listening to respond.
Generally, we are afraid to do this because deep within, there is a fear at work in us that the person we truly are is broken and flawed so if we search deeper we will find feelings of guilt that will grip us, shame that will consume us, insecurity that will paralyse us etc. And so, who would want to be gripped, consumed or paralysed? Surely not us and to make matters worse to allow others to see these very characteristics in us? MOST CERTAINLY NOT! So we stay on the surface, in turn expecting to put the other person's oxygen mask on because they need it more. The truth is, when we clear out the clutter, we are able to see that actually we are OK, and God's love is what secures us, and can share all of who we are with others out of a healthy place. That vulnerability from us is what will help person break down their walls too.