Updated: Mar 26
It is becoming more frequent for me in my coaching practice to have conversations with clients about their deep desire to be understood. We long to be understood.
Ellen Degeneres says, “It is wonderful to be loved, but it is profound to be understood.” However, in a world where no two people are the same, this is an almost impossible quest. Yet we have a strong yearning to know and to be known. I hear from people in my work, “My family doesn’t get me!” or “My husband doesn’t understand me!” or “My friends just don’t seem to know me anymore!” And we wish they did because that would bring so much comfort to us in our situation. But when we get real about this for a moment, of course they don’t understand us how we would like. They have never seen life from behind our eyes, nor walked a day in our shoes, thought for a minute with our mind or felt for a second with our heart. It makes sense that, so few really get us.
This also works the other way where we struggle to understand everyone else. We can find it hard to see why some people make the decisions they make; act the way they do and live the life they are choosing. I once had a client whose boyfriend had dumped her via text. She felt ripped off in that she never got to discuss the breakup with him and understand why he finished it. She really struggled with not being able to get the answers to all the questions that she had. I hear this from others too around losing a job, rejection from friends, unanswered texts and calls. However even when explanations are given and reasons are specified, we still hear these through our own unique lens and come to our own conclusion which still leaves us feeling lost and heartbroken. The answers often don’t comfort us at all.
What do we do when one of our main human needs to understand and be understood is such a difficult need to actually meet and be met?
My suggestion is that we move beyond understanding. I say beyond because staying in the seeking and searching for understanding can sometimes do more damage than good. The more we try to figure something out, the more discouraged we can become. Another client shared with me once about how insecure he felt in conversations with a loved one about their work because he could never understand and therefore connect with the conversation. The more he tried, the more frustrated he became.
"We discussed the simple art of listening and being present in the moment which helped him to go beyond understanding and into love."
To move beyond understanding you can ask yourself better questions. Not necessarily questions to seek understanding of another but questions of yourself to reveal your own love, power and truth. Questions like, “Who do I want to be in this moment? How can I feel content right here, right now?” “What is the best way to soothe myself in this situation?”
Go beyond by affirming, “I know not but I am going to keep leading my life to the fullest and trust that all things are working out for my highest good.” The more you can simply trust when you don’t have the answers, the closer you get to peace and connection and to something that is far beyond the understanding you were searching for. Going beyond is a place you want to be. It will take you to places that are more powerful than you ever expected. Places of healing and growth, love and connection.
Find rest in the fact that it is okay to know that there are some things that we are not supposed to know. We are not in control of the universe and do not have to have it all figured out. And I know this will scare many people as I write this. But that is a clue if this idea really grinds your gears then this is something you should start challenging yourself about.
Don’t let what you don’t understand stop you from being a good person, from showing gratitude for the life you are leading and from serving those around you. Don’t let it keep you stuck in worry, stress and resentment. Change your perspective, you were created to feel good and be love.
Soren Kierkegaard a philosopher and theologian from the 19th century said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” Find peace in the fact that you don’t need all the details to take a step. Just take a moment possibly through breath and meditation to be in alignment with your values and your purpose and then your thoughts will match up with your vibration and the next step will be revealed.
Take the pressure off yourself and others today. Just because you don’t have the answers and all the understanding you desire; doesn’t mean you are not the brilliant and worthy human being you were born to be.