Nobody will ever, ever understand you

The most liberating thing is to realise deeply that nobody will ever, ever understand you. Everyone is too busy trying to understand themselves…

No matter how you want to be seen, people will always have their own image of you. They will mishear, misunderstand and misinterpret your words and your actions. But forgive them, for how can they understand in exactly the way you want them to? They are absolutely free to understand in the way they do.

All that’s left is to understand them, to understand that they don’t understand right now (and perhaps they never will…), and then maybe try to help them to understand if you can, rather than dwelling on their lack of understanding (in your eyes).

I used to live my life waiting, waiting, waiting for people to understand me, always feeling misunderstood, and now I realise that I just wasn’t understanding them. I wasn’t understanding their present lack of understanding. It was all about ‘me’!

These days, I never wait for people to understand ‘me’, or worry that they don’t understand ‘me’. Why is it so crucial that I am understood? I simply try to understand why they don’t understand right now, and help them understand, if I can, by being clearer about my own experience. That’s all I can do. And then, if they STILL don’t understand, I try to understand that.

You see, really you’re only ever dealing with your own understanding or lack of it, and nobody else’s. This vastly simplifies life and relationships. When we deeply allow others’ misunderstanding, we become much kinder…

The word ‘under-stand’ literally means ‘stand in the midst of’. That’s all that life asks, isn’t it? Can we stand ‘in the midst of’ this, whatever is happening? Can we stand ‘in the midst of’ each other, even when we feel misunderstood? Can we truly understand each other, not with the intellect, but with our entire being? True understanding is not of the mind…

– Jeff Foster

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