One of my biggest struggles is understanding others. Why is my daughter throwing a fit? Why is that person driving like an a-hole? Why are people so self-absorbed / rude / annoying in the grocery store? Why do I find myself doing things I thought for sure I’d never do?
One of my biggest questions is why not everyone feels the need to be creative? I love being creative and pushing myself. I only recently discovered that not everyone is built this way.
Another huge question is, why do I feel so hurt when people don’t understand what I mean? Or annoyed when people ask simple questions to clarify an issue.
For the issue of people not understanding me, it was relatively easy to realize that if they don’t understand me, I can rephrase myself and explain again as gently as possible.
For the issue of others not understanding my need to create, I had to work hard to say, ok. A simple, no-nonsense ok. Not everyone understands the need to create something bigger than yourself. That’s ok.
For the most difficult matter of misunderstanding, where I felt personally insulted, it took (and still takes) a huge amount of effort to make my peace.
An interesting thought experiment is, how did I make decisions, in such a way, as to put myself in this bad situation? How did I bring these problems on myself? This is not the same thing as blaming yourself. The goal here is NOT to beat yourself up. The goal is to stop saying, “why me?” and start saying “how can I change my response?”
In the end, I realize, it’s ok to be misunderstood and to misunderstand others.
If we were all created equal and the same, life would be boring. In fact, we wouldn’t get much done. Sameness would lead to flat-lining.
When you feel misunderstood, ask how might you be misunderstanding others? Open yourself to their life experience, and how it differs from yours. When we seek to understand we remove the judgment, which leads to peace within in the differences.
Here’s a link to quotes from Radical Acceptance, a book to learn more about understanding others.
Here’s a link to more art!