When People Don’t Understand You
“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”
― Dale Carnegie
It can be frustrating when people around you just can not seem to understand. Maybe you might feel like you are speaking to them in a foreign language or maybe you feel like you are in a different reality than they are. Have you ever tried to talk to someone only to discover that no matter how hard you try to explain, they just don’t get you? I have certainly been in this situation more times than I care to count. We desperately want the person to understand and we feel that we are being reasonable, but it just doesn’t work out.
The reality is that no matter how much we want people to understand us, not everyone will. Some people will never get us no matter how much we would like them to. At the risk of stating the obvious, people are all different. It is unrealistic to expect that others will see things the same way we do for the simple reason that each person’s reality is different. Of course, we know this, but putting it into practice is a whole other ballgame. Typically, when we see that someone doesn’t understand us, our emotions and our internal intolerance thermometer tend to escalate as we try again and again to help them see our perspective. We can easily fall into the pit of devaluing people for not seeing things the way we do. Alternatively, we may engage in destructive behaviors and end up damaging our relationships.
Why Don’t People Get You?
There are probably as many reasons as there are people for why some people get us and others don’t. But here are some of the main reasons.
People have preconceived ideas about others
People always see what they want to see and understand what they want to understand
People have different personality traits
People’s backgrounds may color their values, beliefs, and relationships
There may be trust issues
People have different priorities
People have different interests and abilities
People have different expectations
What Can We do?
The most important thing we can do is accept the fact that not everyone is going to like us, agree with us or understand us and that is ok. It is not our job to get everyone on board, nor does everyone have to agree with us or understand us. We shine by being who we are, who were were created to be regardless of what others think. What they think of us is none of our business. The best thing we can do is focus on being ourselves. éwe do not have to justify, explain, or convince anyone of anything. It is hard, though, because we have this need to want to fit it, to be part of a group and feel understood by our group. We want to feel supported by our group. It can certainly be tough living on the outside of the groupthink.
When we are busy trying to get approval from others we have less time and energy to devote to being ourselves and focusing on what we do best. Seeking the approval of others can be mentally, physically and emotionally draining as well as a huge waste of time. It is far better to accept that not everyone is going to be on board. We need to recognize that our experiences, our reality and our perceptions are ours alone. All of this requires a change in the way we think and how we think about what we think. We can not think in terms of how others think, but only in terms of how we choose to think.
Some Practical Tips
1. Don’t expect everyone to understand you
They won’t. That is the reality. Everyone has his or her own point of view, expectations, and priorities. We will never fit into everyone’s box of what is right and true. We can never meet everyone,s expectations and we are certainly not on everyone’s list of priorities. People are egocentric by nature. It is not natural for us to try to understand others because we are too focused on what we want and what we are doing. Why should we expect others to focus on us? If they make an effort to, great! But we shouldn’t expect them to see things our way. We can not control what others think, say or do.
2. Don’t apologize for being you
We all do this, don’t we? Or at least I do from time to time. We think for some reason that we have to apologize to others for being who we are. We even apologize for others on their behalf: “Oh, he’s just a bit shy.” Is it really anyone’s business to know this? We do not have to meet the standards of others and we do not have to apologize for any “falling short”. It is our job to take care of our own business and we do not owe anyone an apology for something that does not concern them.
3. Just do you
You are the only one who can do you as well as you. And while you are busy doing you, there is no time to be concerned with what others think or whether or not they approve of you. Being you is already a full-time job that requires energy, thought, planning, and revision. You will get farther, do more and live more by focusing on living your own life in the way you are called to live it than you will be, messing with all these roadblocks, detours and other distractions caused by worrying whether others agree with you or not. You can’t be living to please the whims and expectations of others.
4. Find your clan
Surrounding yourself with like-minded people can be a tremendous source of support especially when you feel frustrated when others don’t understand you. There are people out there whose personalities, outlooks, values, and priorities line up closely with yours. When you feel that you have to constantly explain your self or when you feel isolated because those around you don’t get you, having that clan or tribe of like-minded individuals can make all the difference. Suddenly you don’t feel as odd or misunderstood. Often it is with those closest to us that we have the most difficulty making ourselves understood because they know us so well. It is good and healthy to have a group of people that you can bounce ideas off of without feeling like you have to conform.
5. Focus on living your life
We are responsible for our own lives. We can’t focus on living our lives if we are busy with trying to live u to other’s expectations. Time is short, life is short – cliché, but shockingly true. Don’t waste precious time and energy on things that don’t matter or that could possibly severe relationships. Be ok with living your life and letting others live theirs. If we concentrate on what we need to do at all times, we won’t have time to worry about whether or not others approve of us.
Our experiences, our thoughts, our ways of seeing are for us only. they do not belong to anyone else unless we choose to share them with others. Sharing does not mean that others have to accept what we share or approve. They are free to have their own viewpoints and understanding. It is not for us to expect them to side with us. This is the beauty and diversity of being human.
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Diana Lynne’s passions are family, traveling, learning, and pursuing a debt-free life. She also loves hanging out with family, friends and being with her dog Skye. Diana is a Quebec City girl. who loves living life. You can connect with her through Livingandstuff.ca