Seeking To Be Understood or Accepted?
I talk about this concept when working with couples, however, it applies to every single person.
AND… all of it begins with YOU!
When seeking to be understood, you are looking for synergy, sameness, oneness, compliance, alignment, and agreement.
You believe that people who understand you are more like you, and therefore more worthy of your time, love, care, and attention. This is a common aspect of the human condition, or being a human.
When you are in this space, you tend to have similar people in your life. They dress like you, think like you, have similar political, religious, parenting, health, and relationship beliefs as you.
It happens in mass too. Large groups of people who believe they “understand” each other and therefore belong together as a whole, tend to congregate.
Families, businesses, churches, clubs, various cultures, and political parties can all do this to some degree.
We can get caught up in this group mentality of “no one understands us”, OR “we are misunderstood”. AND “we don’t understand you/your group”.
Interestingly, the dynamics of wanting to be understood, striving to be understood, or trying to force understanding is actually rooted in victimhood or taking a victim position.
This kind of thinking elicits separateness and elitism. Group mentality often dehumanizes “others” and leads to a lack of compassion, care, support, and love to those who are not “part of OUR group/club”.
If you think about it, It’s actually not much different than being in jr high and not wanting another girl to join because, “she doesn’t look right, dress right, do the right sports, and so on”.
Are we just catty, bratty kids in older bodies?!
Seeking to be understood is a micro and macro problem within our society.
The teenager who sits in their room and says to themselves, “No one understands me!!” is actually right! Their parents don’t understand.
It’s been a minute since they were teenagers, the world is different now in thousands of ways and they can’t possibly understand... And let’s be honest, most teens don’t believe they are understood.
The Native American who is struggling and losing their culture says, “Other American’s don’t understand why this way of life is dear to me.”
They, too, are right.
And when you come home from work and think to yourself after talking with your spouse, “he will never understand what it’s like to own a business”
This is also accurate.
AND… You won’t understand “them” either- and a lack of understanding or feeling understood does breed separation, loneliness, upset, division, anger, aggression, resentment, and the like...
So what’s the solution?
To be accepted and loved without condition is every single person’s deepest heart desire.
Seeking to be understood and to understand is divisive and usually comes with a person and self-serving agenda -- like gaining compliance, being agreed with, being right, and gaining attention.
The bigger ask, and more powerful gift, is that of acceptance.
I hear people say all the time:
I just want my boss to understand my point of view
I want my husband to understand my feelings
I want my kids to understand why they need to clean their room
I want this country to understand …
I want ____ to understand ____
The true underlying WANT here is this:
I want compliance
I want you to agree with me
I want you to do ‘it’ my way
I want you to see ‘it’ my way
I want to be the star
I think I know best
I think I know what’s right
I want to be the winner
I WANT WHAT I WANT, I WANT IT MY WAY, AND I WANT IT NOW!
(Are you feeling your feathers ruffled a bit? This can be challenging to hear…)
Then, when we DON’T get “my way” (under the guise of wanting to be understood + playing the victim or poor me card...), we begin to unleash emotional weapons.
We fiercely argue a point.
Begin criticizing, yelling, judging, or name-calling
We guilt and shame others for their perspective, opinions or point of view.
We shut down, stomp off, slam doors, or give the silent treatment
We punish and withhold care, love, sex, or other kindnesses
… all this sneakily masquerades as “wanting to be understood”.
These cycles are well worn egoic patterns, trying to do its job of perceived self-protection, as the ego’s main and primitive ‘job’ is survival. In days of old, people survived if they were part of a tribe, rather than on their own. The ego wants us to assimilate and to go along with the ‘easiest’ path.
Since the ego thrives on living in the past or the future, what it tells you, are only stories about past perception, or future fears.
Likewise, seeking to be understood is a complex weave of stories that the mind tells in convincing succession!
These stories are not actually real.
Acceptance is a “greater purpose” skill to be developed- it is a high-level emotional, mental, and spiritual skill.
Accepting others is a true, authentic, and beautiful way to live... AND unleashes amazing rewards!
And the rewards of cultivating the skill of acceptance:
You cut down drastically on the conflict and drama in your life
You learn to accept yourself (Huge Hooray!!!!! )
You build an ever-increasing foundation for collaboration and emotional safety with those you care about
You stop getting fired up when you don’t get your way, and instead feel the peace, love, and calm of, “I have one view, and s/he has a different view, and we don’t have to agree to care deeply for one another”. And that is it!
You begin to love the whole world!
Acceptance is a practice that encourages unconditional love.
Loving and accepting others regardless of what they wear, where they live, what they drive, who they love, and what they believe, is so freeing and liberating.
When you learn to walk around and see each and every human being as, not only equal, but as ONE body, and then love and accept them/you, all of the negative, gossipy, and egotistical notions fall to the wayside…
… because they were never real, to begin with!
When you choose to shed egos entrapments (like trying and over trying or trying to force people to understand or see your vantage point, we are able to simply live a life of love.
Which life experience sounds more appealing to you? More loving? More kind? More generous? More inclusive?
The next time you walk into a restaurant and see a group of people who look different than you how will you proceed? You can look at them with judgment because you don’t “understand”, while your ego makes assessments based on surface appearances. Silently or even unconsciously assessing skin color, culture, sexual preferences, music preferences, political or religious positions, status, wealth, and on it goes...
The next time you walk into a restaurant and see a group of people who look different than you, you actively and consciously, note a story forming of the possible differences, and quickly shift to Acceptance! You feel love and complete acceptance pour over you and toward this beautiful group of humans. You smile and silently wish them well, then go about your day feeling enriched by your interaction, connection, and sense of oneness.