Do you sometimes think that people don’t understand you? Part of a sense of belonging and feeling accepted is believing that others understand you—they get you. That can often mean that you share the same views.
Do you “feel” misunderstood sometimes? Actually, the thought is that you are misunderstood. Misunderstood is not a feeling but a thought. The feelings that go with that thought could be fear, such as fear of being different, fear of abandonment, fear of being wrong, sadness, or frustration that you are not being heard.
When you think others don’t understand you and/or have different opinions about a situation, you might feel hurt as well. You may see yourself as left out and perhaps rejected. You may want to walk away. It’s painful.
Separating the thought from the feeling can help you know how to cope effectively. Walking out, attacking, or withdrawing are not likely to improve understanding or decrease your feelings of hurt and anger. Being mindful of your emotions can help you cope with them without acting in ways that make the situation worse.
I found a skill from Aguirre and Galen to help in situations where you have feelings about being misunderstood. The skill is GET ME.
Ground Yourself. Use mindful breathing. Focus on your inhales and exhales. Exhale for a longer time than you inhale.
Express that you need space to figure out the misunderstanding.
Think about alternatives to your certainty about the other person’s position. What are the facts? Are you making assumptions or any interpretations? Did you check out your understanding of what the other person is saying?
Maintain an even manner by reminding yourself that everyone is doing the best that they can. People make mistakes and they misunderstand.
Express yourself. Validate the other person’s point of view while also stating yours in a non-judgmental way. Explain yourself and allow space for you and the other person to have different opinions.
It’s difficult sometimes to accept disagreements and/or be misunderstood and still value the relationship. It’s difficult to have someone misunderstand you and still see the overall importance of the relationship.
You may see yourself as being rejected if someone has a different view, doesn’t understand your opinions, or doesn’t agree with your ideas. Having different views about various subjects doesn’t mean you can’t value someone who thinks differently.
Observe and Describe Non-judgmentally
Be mindful that different views do not mean you’re not accepted as a person. Practice GET ME. I think adding Observe, Describe and Thinking Non-judgmentally might help too.
Observe and Describe. When you are feeling misunderstood, wait. Observe and describe your emotions. Give yourself time to calm.
Let Go of Judgments: One key is to let go of judgments. Mindfully listen to the other person and accept that people see things differently. Let go of any judgments of yourself or of the other person. If they have misunderstood you, let go of any judgments that you have about that. That happens to everyone.
Remember that no one can be just the way you want them to be. Being in relationships means you’ll be misunderstood at times and you’ll have disagreements. You won’t like it, you don’t want it to be that way, and you accept it.
Live a skill-full life