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We want to know they see us. They recognize the thoughts, feelings, and struggles that underlie our choices, and they not only empathize but maybe even relate. That requires a certain sense of safety, which hinges upon feeling valued and accepted. There was a time when one of my relationships felt incredibly unsafe. And it also creates a sense of separation, which, for some, feels safer than closeness. This person often assumed the worst of me—that I was selfish and weak—and interpreted things I did through this lens.A Friend - Keno - Lyrics
They would belittle my beliefs and opinions, as if they warranted neither consideration nor respect. And they would even make fun of me when I tried to share my thoughts and feelings, minimizing not only my perspective but also my personhood. Like I had no value.
It hurts to feel like someone is more committed to misunderstanding you than developing any sense of common ground. I fought. I screamed.
I cried. I tried to force them to see my basic goodness and view the world from my vantage point. I tried to impose my will upon them—the will to be valued and heard—regardless of whether they were willing or capable of giving me those courtesies. And I caused myself a lot of pain, all the while justifying this madness with an indignant sense of righteousness. Because people should try to understand. People should treat each other with respect.
People should be kind and loving and open. Because that would make the world feel safe. Things will never be exactly as we think they should be, and resisting this only causes us pain.
This was actually a huge insight for me. I actually did a lot digging to try to understand what would make someone—and specifically, this someone—closed off to understanding. What pain could have hardened their heart so dramatically? As often happens when you dig, I found a lot to explain it. I found unresolved traumas that likely led to deep feelings of shame and vulnerability—which likely cemented into a need to always be and appear strong.
Not new ideas, and definitely not attempts at deep connection. Which is really sad when you think about. But can you imagine the pain of rarely understanding anyone because letting someone into your heart actually hurts? Can you imagine living life so guarded, so scared, constantly hiding—and possibly without even realizing it? They might be shut down to everyone. Or specific ideas that trigger something from their past. Or maybe we, ourselves, are the trigger.
Maybe we remind them of something they want to forget. I remember reading an article once about the contentious relationship women often have with their mothers-in-law. She may have been raped on a couch that looked just like yours. This hit me hard. The thought that everyone has secret pains, sequestered in shame, that often manifest in hurtful behaviors.
Knowing this, I understand how pain can bring out the worst in us. But if we really want understanding, maybe the key is to choose understanding. Maybe the secret is to broaden our perspective beyond what would make us feel safe in a moment so we can do our part to help create a greater sense of safety for everyone we encounter.
Maybe by choosing to offer understanding, we can influence the people around us to heal their pains so they can one day open their heart a little wider. When they feel safe. It often requires us to create boundaries, whether that means avoiding specific conversations or even creating physical distance in that relationship. It requires us to pause and connect with our deepest intentions before reacting impulsively, defensively, in anger.
Because I know I am coming from a place of love, kindness, and integrity. Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She recently launched a Mindfulness Kit to help reduce our stress and increase our peace and joy. For daily wisdom, the Tiny Buddha list here. This site is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice.
It hurts. It hurts to feel invalidated. We often take that pain and churn into anger. Remember what I wrote about separation feeling safer for some than closeness? Web Twitter Facebook More Posts. See a typo or inaccuracy? Please so we can fix it! Did you enjoy this post? Please share the wisdom :. Free Download: Buddha Desktop Wallpaper. Recent Forum Topics How to manage this?
Struggling with tolerance towards others Depressive GF broke up with. Disclaimer This site is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice. Who Runs Tiny Buddha? Back to Top.I need a friend who can understand me
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I need someone who will understand me