One of my biggest frustrations in life is being misunderstood — and surprisingly, it happens OFTEN. I’m not just talking about “misunderstanding” in the lighter sense (such as being unable to articulate myself clearly). I’m talking about being misunderstood in the deeper sense — with things related to the core of who I am and what I’m about.
I’ve never been transparent. Can’t pretend to be. I’m an onion with so many layers that it takes time to actually know me (if this analogy sounds like it’s from Shrek, that’s because it is). Of course this makes me more prone to being misunderstood.
I’m also very different. And while diversity brings so much beauty and intrigue into the world (I wouldn’t trade it for anything), it also increases chances of misunderstanding. As someone who is different on so many levels — from my physical appearance, to the fact that I’m left-handed, to the way I think, to my personality (I have the rarest personality type according to the Carl Jung Typology Test. Shout out to the rest of the 1% LOL) — I can honestly attest to this.
Being misunderstood can be pretty tough. I’m not writing this to be emo. I’m writing this to be an outlet of expression for others who’ve felt the same way. To be misread as someone who could care less about others when it’s the farthest thing from the truth; to have your good intentions be taken wrongly; to share an experience that is so raw and deep to you, only to realize that few people actually understand you because they’ve never gone through what you did; to have a vision of something you are so passionate about, only to have no one ‘get it’ because you think on an entirely different level …it’s frustrating.
There came a point in my life when I really hated being different because it made me feel more misunderstood. I couldn’t understand why God made me the way He did — in a way that ‘set me apart’ rather than allowed me to ‘blend in’ — because in my mind, it made it harder for me to find that sense of ‘community’ whose importance God so strongly emphasized.
Rather than finding validation in others for my unique experiences, I felt even more isolated and alone. I was horrified to find that many people actually couldn’t relate to me, even if they badly wanted to. And I couldn’t force myself to think or experience the world in the same way they did either, even if I tried. I was just ‘programmed’ differently. It was hard for me to accept.
There were many times when my prayers would involve the exasperated statement of, “God … you’ve made me so different.” — as if expecting him to fix it. But God didn’t see anything that needed fixing. Otherwise, he would’ve done it. When I’d cry out, “God, you’ve made me so different,” his only response would be: “Exactly.”
And that shut me up.
Because for the first time it registered to me that there was a purpose to all this — to the way God designed me. He wasn’t going to change it for the sake of my comfort; it was my responsibility to find comfort in Him.
LESSONS LEARNED …
While I still struggle with accepting this, I can proudly say that I am learning.
I am learning that my inability to find comfort in this world is a gift, because it makes me fully dependent on God as my source of consolation.
I am learning that God is calling me to embrace myself rather than wish I was someone else — to trust his plan and design for me.
I am learning that no one is ever fully ‘alone.’ There will always be someone who can relate to you, even if the number of people who do are few. Otherwise, this blog wouldn’t exist. I am grateful for those of you who read my words and vibe with them, affirming that I am not alone in my experiences.
I am learning that I don’t necessarily need anyone to ‘understand’ me in order to proceed with life and feel validated about who I am and what I’ve been through. Be self-affirmed and trust God completely. That’s all you really need.
I am learning that while my friends and loved ones might not necessarily ‘understand’ me, it doesn’t mean they don’t love me. The fact that they stick around and listen to me anyway is enough testimony of that. Vastly different people can still get along. 🙂
That’s all I’ve got for now — hopefully it helps. I’m sure more will be revealed to me as I go on through life 🙂 #daretobedifferent