Despite all your best intentions, have you ever been painfully misunderstood by someone?
I’m experiencing that right now. And it’s incredibly frustrating, painful, and uncomfortable!
As I imagine what someone else is thinking of me, all my “Gremlins” come out of hiding and say things like, “see, you’re not so worthy after all,” or “you should have handled things differently- you’re clearly not smart enough to deal with this situation.”
The feelings that accompany those messages soon follow. I start feeling guilty, as if I’ve done something wrong and need to suffer the consequences. I feel angry that I once again need to defend myself. And I feel ashamed for not having done a better job of emulating who I truly am to the other person.
Previously, when it has come to my attention that someone didn’t really “get” what I’m all about, I would try hard to reach out to correct their interpretation of my character and to convince them of my true character and motives. Somehow, that dance has never felt satisfying. I end up feeling like I’ve done the opposite.
When someone doesn’t really see us the way we see ourselves, it’s the natural reaction to try and clarify who we are. But a crucial thing I have come to understand is that how people see us is what they WANT to see. It’s about them, not us.
There are many reasons why someone would want to see us differently than we are. But guess what? Those reasons are none of our business!
You know what else? It’s important in these situations to learn how to sit with discomfort and being out of control.
It’s completely understandable to want some control in your life! We do so many things to try and exert control from keeping a calendar to cleaning our houses. (Those our mine. You likely have your own methods of creating control in your life.)
My point is that life becomes less restrictive and more expansive when we can relinquish a little control. We can start to see solutions to our problems we might not otherwise have seen under the influence of resistance. Acceptance of our outer circumstances goes a long way toward acceptance of our inner selves. And accepting ourselves is really one of the only things we truly have control over.
In this episode of Growing in Uncertainty, you will learn some strategies for facing times when you feel misunderstood, how to productively sit with any discomfort that comes up, and how to deepen your inner acceptance.