We can become stuck with the feeling that people don’t understand us without realising this is an important invitation to grow.
Is there someone in your life who challenges you? They’re doing this, they’re making you feel that. I’ve been there! Throughout my life, I met people who I immediately bristled at. I’ve found myself simultaneously drawn and repelled by certain folk. I have yelled at my family, whinged about boyfriends, talked about friends behind their back. It all seemed like normal behaviour. I mean, I wasn’t the only one behaving like this, right?
But think about it, for a moment. Is that what you want as ‘normal’? What about a chance to stand out from the crowd because you’re the one who doesn’t complain about what your spouse did, or keeps doing? What would it be like to say, ‘I’m content with the relationships I have with my family’? Can you imagine living by a code that lays down the principle of not talking about people where they’re not there aka Brené Brown’s ‘The Vault’?
This has been a powerful place for me to work over the years. It’s been a case of making gradual steps that have involved, firstly, letting go and, secondly, reclaiming something that was lost.
The main principle that lies beneath shifting the way we feel about people misunderstanding us, how we see them and relate to them, is that they are a reflection of us.
I truly got an understanding of this principle when I began training with a Shaman a few years ago. Here, I was introduced to the concept of ‘the mirror’. At the end of my first year of initiation into the way of the Shaman my relationship with my parents was different. I’d always felt as though they didn’t understand me, and there were so many things I couldn’t talk to them about.
It’s ironic, really, because after twelve months of learning some very far out Shamanic practices. I’d have thought there’d be even more I couldn’t talk to my family about. How would they understand all this?
So, what happened?
It was the realisation that it wasn’t them, it was me. Let me add, this wasn’t a realisation that rolled effortlessly into place with a beautiful, harmonious ping! No.
That’s what I meant when I talked earlier about the ‘letting go’. I had to let go of every single example (and I believed there were many!) that was preventing me from accepting the reason I couldn’t talk to my parents, and the reason they didn’t understand me, was because I wasn’t truly talking to, and understanding, myself.
It’s not a switch to be flipped – as much as I wanted that! The key is in the journey you make from one perspective to the other. Here, you will reclaim what’s lost. For me, that ‘thing’ was me. The me that I hadn’t been listening to. The me that I had been misunderstanding.
In my journey as a writer, I know that the more work I do to reclaim those hidden parts of me, the more fully and willingly I approach my practice of writing.
Here’s a writing prompt that is a lovely way into this process:
Write for ten minutes on someone’s incorrect perception of you as if this is the way you feel about yourself.
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