Why Do I Need Others to Understand Me?
Let’s start right off with a big one.
If you’re struggling to get people to understand you, first you must ask why you need people to understand you in the first place?
And before you jump right in and respond, “Well, because…” seriously consider the question.
I’ll be the guinea pig for you.
Jordan, why do you need others to understand you?
“Well, I want people to know where I’m coming from.”
Why do you want people to know where you’re coming from?
“So they can respect me for who I am.”
Why do you want them to respect you for who you are?
“Because it feels good to be appreciated for being my true self.”
Why does that feel good?
“Well, because I think one of the great joys of life is to find people who allow me to feel truly seen and be truly heard.”
And why is that important.
“Because, I guess, that’s what life is all about. We’re all in this together.”
Take a look at this question-and-answer path. What started off as a simple question eventually led to an answer rooted in the need for deep belonging and connection with others. It became something much more than surface-level understanding.
This is the reason you must ask yourself questions–and continue to ask yourself questions–until you get to the heart of the issue.
This leads me to another important, vulnerable question you should ask yourself when you’re feeling misunderstood…
What if Nobody Ever Understands Me?
It involves getting your deepest and darkest fears out there in front of you so that you can see them for what they are.
And this one is a doozy.
“What if nobody ever understands me?”
Let that sink in for a second.
Do you think that’s realistic?
In my brain of yesteryear, I did. I thought that no person could ever understand me. As a a child, I felt like an alien from another planet. Turns out, I was just sensitive. Turns out, I hadn’t yet found my tribe.
As I got older, I learned valuable skills to get out of my head. I learned to write. I learned to type. I learned to get my thoughts out of my head and down on paper or a computer screen in front of me–and this helped immensely.
Because it allowed me to set my fears in their proper place. I know the same could work for you. Because there’s plenty of evidence that writing down your fears can help improve your mental health.
So what’s the worst that could happen if no understands you? Will every single person stare at you and point at you on the street? Will they call out your name and hold up their index fingers to create an “X” shape and shun you when you go by? Maybe they will laugh at every single word you say! The cacophony of laughter might ring through your entire community!
Now, you can see how ridiculous this fear-setting exercise can get. But it illustrates an important point.
When you take the time to document your worst fears, 99% of the time you learn that they are unfounded, to say the least.
And this brings me to my final question.
Do I Even Understand Myself?
I bet you saw this one coming.
This question probably could have been asked first.
Because, when it comes down to it, being understood by others starts and ends with self-understanding. Mental health, as is the case with life, is a continuous loop. Sometimes the loop expands, and sometimes it narrows. But the lessons that you need to learn are always on it, they just take different shapes until you recognize what it is that you need to learn.
And the fastest way to learn those lessons is by asking questions–and then taking action based on the answers that reveal themselves to you.
The more time you spend searching for the answers, the more varied responses you will get.
Eventually, the feedback you receive in your relationships will tell you if you’re on the right path.