Saturday, November 2, 2013
I understand that most people do not understand me. But really, isn't that how all of us feel on some level? If all of mankind feels misunderstood, is it safe to say that maybe we simply aren't trying or revealing our true selves? How many times have you thought, "No one understands me. They say they do, but they don't. They think they know but they're not in MY shoes". Well, truth is, no one is in anyone else's shoes. Fact is, pain is pain, hurt is hurt, struggle is struggle, and just because they are in different forms or happening to different people doesn't make anyone's pain or struggle greater or more important. I'm not talking about extreme abuses, injustices, and suffering. I'm referring to our daily "okay" lives. One thing I think we can all agree on is that there are people that are suffering so horribly, that they'd trade places with us in a heartbeat. Injustices of all kinds; famine, homelessness, beatings, human trafficking, loved ones vanishing without a trace, murder, despair to the point of suicide, modern day slavery, cults...the list is truly endless. And in this list I realize that my problems are small potatoes. Yes, I'm struggling, you're struggling, bottom line is, we are all struggling. And our struggles are what makes us similar, not different.
Aside from sociopaths, generally, we all care about one another. No person with an ounce of humanity actually wants someone else to hurt. Think about a sports event. When a team wins, the fans of said team are celebrating and hugging perfect strangers inviting one another to a tailgating celebration. Everyone is happy for the same reason and wants to share it with one another, even perfect strangers. So, why do we assume the same isn't true for times of struggle? "You don't know how I feel!" but what if we really do??? Why do we get so defensive in our feelings thinking we are the exception to the rules of emotions? In my humble opinion, it is in those times of grief or pain that I think we should reach out to one another. But here's the kicker, no one really wants the emotional burdens of another person, do they? Ah...therein lies the problem. We want to celebrate with one another, that's when we all understand and know how each other feels. But give us a moment of grief and then you're suddenly an emotional burden. Why have we conditioned ourselves this way? I once got a message from a friend and what they said pretty much sums up how we are. They said, "Hey, what's wrong with So-and-So? I'd ask myself but then I may be forced to help." When dealing with a personal issue another friend messaged me asking how I was doing, this was our exchange, "I'm okay. Such-and-such is going on but I'll be fine. No need to worry about me." the response I got was this, "I wasn't worried, just curious". I do not believe my friends to be callous at all, I believe they simply don't know how to handle negative situations. To be honest, neither do I. Don't think me some enlightened individual, because I'm not. In fact, if there's emotions involved, it kind of freaks me out. I am aware of this flaw. I'm just wondering how we got this way.
I have been in need, and people have come through for me in ways that are truly humbling and wonderfully overwhelming. Their actions speak volumes. In celebration I have laughed and danced and enjoyed friends, family, and acquaintances, but when things would get emotionally ugly I'd hide, not wanting to burden anyone thinking "they don't understand me at all". I know I'm not the only one that does this.
Truthfully, I don't even know where all of this is coming from. Just something I woke up thinking about. With my lack of social skills I find myself trying to understand people and for the most part, I simply don't understand people at all. But I do know that I don't like seeing people hurting in any way. So, even if I don't understand how someone feels simply for the fact that I am not them, I do know that it hurts me for them. I have been told more than once "You think too much. Stop trying to understand people." But I simply cannot. I will continue to try and understand because all of us feel misunderstood and that's not a very nice feeling. I have set boundaries on habitual violators that would use me as an emotional dumping ground, however, I will always try to be a person available to someone else even if I don't understand them.