For most of my life, I have been misunderstood. It may have been my views on a particular topic or how I have carried myself. Unfortunately, I cannot think like others or remain silent on issues.
Despite going through much of my life like this, I have not been left alone. On the contrary, I have a few very close friends and a supportive partner. All of them have their moments of shock when they realise they do not understand who I am. However, they find much joy in finding out and learning more about me every day.
For the most part, I am still trying to understand myself. I think many of us have an internal battle with ourselves. We have a pursuit to become someone we currently are not. Yet still, have the struggle to understand who we truly are in the present.
At 17, I realised that my own family did not know who I was. They did not understand my motivations and could not believe they shared the same genetic make-up. I seemed to be the complete opposite to them in every way.
My family are very easy-going people and never take anything too seriously. They are outgoing and love experiencing what the world has to offer. My problem is that I am the complete opposite of that. I would rather be by myself and understand rather than just experience. I am a deep thinker and can not help but take just about everything in life seriously.
I remember almost having a panic attack in my room at university after realising that my family do not understand me. Recently, I have even had to make the tough decision to leave an organisation due to fears of being pushed out by those who could not stand me.
So, how have I been able to come to terms with all of this? Furthermore, how have I found comfort in it?
It Is Human to Be Misunderstood
We often lack the courage to stand out amongst the crowd. Following the status quo is the safe thing to do. You reduce your chances of being left behind or picked on. And thanks to our desire to fit in, we all help to contribute to societal norms and rules in our local groups.
However, the pressure we put on ourselves to be like everyone else can often overburden us. We have seen the negative effects of comparison and young people in our society. Whilst our advancements to a better-connected world has brought many benefits, it has also heightened our fear of being left out.
That is why many of us remain connected to our devices. Yes, the algorithms have a huge part to play in installing habitual behaviour. However, we also feel the urge to remain connected in some way. Even if that connection is at the cost of our productivity or time with our significant other.
For many, that pressure to remain connected is applied throughout their whole life. They fear being left out and live inauthentic lives because of it. Nevertheless, some people are willing to live in this way and bypass their happiness to put a smile on other people’s faces.
Yet still, deep down, we all know that it is human to be misunderstood. It is human to be different and experience the world around us in unique ways. In fact, it is to our advantage that we have a spread of human experience. We are able to work in collaborative teams with people who see things differently to us and come up with innovative ideas.
Although it is in our best interest to set commonalities amongst us all, we operate at our best when we are individuals. And it was this realisation that put me a step closer to comfort. To be different is to be human. And we can only truly live a human experience when we are misunderstood for our differences.
Embracing Our Differences
As I began to catch my breath in my university room, I started to think of all the times my indifference has brought me happiness. That may have been my interesting taste in jazz music rather than all the other stuff my peers are listening to. Also, my deep thinking has often led me to insights that have improved my life.
My number one fear was being misunderstood by those who mattered to me the most. And unfortunately, I had to accept that it had already happened. My mother and father struggled to hold a conversation with me concerning anything about life. My sister looked up to me but had a hard time figuring out how I became the person I am.
Although I felt the pressure to feel connected and be like them, I just could not do it. And my panic attack came about because I believed that my differences made me an outcast to those I loved the most.
Nevertheless, those differences are what made me human. It gave me a chance to experience life from a different perspective. And embracing those differences meant accepting who I was. This is what many people call self-acceptance. It is the ability to move from self-judgement to self-appreciation.
Our differences can be the reasons why we both judge and appreciate ourselves. And they are also the reason why others do the same to us. So, it can be hard to accept all of our differences as some cause us much suffering.
However, I have found that it is the differences that bring about the most chaos in our lives that we should embrace even more. For it is these differences that we can be remembered for.
Comfort in Being Misunderstood
I am an intellect at heart. I love learning and producing new ideas. The way I live my life is one of rarety and is misunderstood by most. However, through understanding that my differences are essential and valuable to my life, I have found comfort.
Unfortunately, many people equate being misunderstood to being unaccepted. However, that is far from the truth. We can all live in acceptance of one another whilst misunderstanding why people do what they do.
We will never be able to understand or unpack all the complex motives and desires of each individual. So, in essence, we misunderstand everyone to some extent. Even people who have been married for years still say they are learning more about each other every day.
The great part about being human is that you do not need to be understood. Your differences are what makes you human, and our acceptance is what makes you part of our human experience.
So, if there is one takeaway from reading this article. It should be that we should focus less on our differences and more on our acceptance of others. All of our differences have a key part to play in the advancements of our society and the lives of others. So, feel comforted you are misunderstood and be willing to accept others.