I don’t know about you, but I often get really frustrated when other’s don’t understand what I’m saying or my perspective on a particular topic. I guess I would probably feel less frustrated if I was more sure of myself, and less dependent on what others think, but for now, I still have an unhealthy attachment to external validation. Less than I used to. But it’s still there. So when I talk to people about something I feel uncertain about, what I really want for them to say is: “Oh, I know exactly what you mean! It’s so crazy isn’t it? I mean, I feel like you’ve literally described my own life, and I could not agree with you more!” Something like that anyway. More often than not though, I am met with an inadequate response, which isn’t surprising given how high my expectations are! No wonder I’m constantly disappointed if what I’m looking for is 100% understanding and enthusiasm on the part of my conversational partner.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s important for us to feel heard and understood, and if we don’t currently have many people who allow us to feel these life-affirming things, it’s maybe a good idea to reach out to people who are more on our wavelength, or join a Facebook community of like-minded individuals who can offer time and space to really hear what you’re saying. But in day-to-day conversations with friends, family and colleagues, I think it’s important (for sanity’s sake) to remember that they aren’t us, and we aren’t them. Even people we know really well, and who have been around since year dot, cannot know exactly what it’s like to walk in our shoes, and to have our unique perspective on life. It’s so important to remember this – not only to avoid feeling frustrated and disheartened, but also to ensure that we don’t give our personal power and sense of self away every five minutes. Trust me, I speak from experience! Depending on what you’re talking about, some people just won’t get it. I mean, they’re likely to agree that pizza tastes amazing, but they may be less able to understand why it’s so important for you to go sky diving or retire from work much earlier than anticipated.
This topic has come up for me because I’m currently living life so differently to how I used to, and so differently to how many people around me live their own lives. To be honest, it’s hard for me to make sense of most of the time, so how can I expect others to ‘get’ exactly where I’m coming from? It can be really isolating and lonely at times, and that’s why I mentioned about reaching out to like-minded individuals and becoming part of a Facebook community. We simply must take these practical steps in life, or risk feeling so discouraged that we give up on our hopes and dreams.
All of this helps to remind me that it’s important to keep the things that matter most to us in a sacred place inside, and not to let other people’s lack of understanding, negativity or inability to stop and really listen to what we’re saying, allow us to think less of ourselves – or our dreams. We must treat our dreams, aspirations and personal journeys with respect and kindness, and remind ourselves that we too are guilty of not completely understanding where other people are coming from sometimes.
Perhaps it’s also wise to not discuss things we feel really unsure about to the extent that we absolutely have to receive positive validation for what we’re saying. For example, I’m just beginning to realise how much more important it is to be happy and fully expressed in the world than it is to be ‘successful’ in the conventional sense of the word. This new belief is becoming less fragile as the days and weeks go by, but it’s still a huge blow to me if certain people in my life don’t agree and resonate more with my old way of seeing things. Perhaps these people are in my life to challenge me to heal these aspects of myself? Viewing it this way certainly seems to make difficult conversations feel less like a trial and more like an opportunity.
I hope this helps some of you similarly sensitive soul-searchers out there. Whoever you are, thanks so much for making it to the end of this post and for taking the time to hear what I have to say 🙂