Nobody understands me. Nobody gets me. I am so misunderstood.
This lonely feeling has been echoed by many of my dear readers. I have felt it myself.
You feel alone even when surrounded by other people. And as a matter of fact, you feel more alone when surrounded by other people. You feel too different. You feel like you don’t belong. You just want to hide.
These feelings are real. They are painful. They are rooted in lots of past hurt.
They can be overcome. I know this is true, because I used to drown in these feelings and I was eventually able to swim out.
Here’s my three-step process to overcome the feeling that nobody understands you.
(Steps #2 and #3 will sound totally contradictory at first glance, but I hope it will all make sense in the end. 🙂 )
3 Steps To Overcome The “Nobody Understands Me” Feeling
1. Understand Yourself
You can’t expect other people to get you if you don’t even fully understand yourself.
In ideal circumstances, we learn self awareness as children and adolescents. Parents who have their shit at least semi-together “mirror” their children. They see you. They notice your feelings and your preferences and your natural strengths. They see the authentic you. Then they tell you what they see.
However, if you grew up in a dysfunctional family, this may not have happened. Your parents either didn’t mirror you at all or they did it inaccurately. They either didn’t see you or they only saw what they wanted to see.
As a result, many people either:
a) lack self awareness or
b) have a vague sense of what they are all about, but lack the words to articulately talk about themselves
If any of this sounds like you, don’t worry, you are not doomed. 🙂 You simply need to get a little clearer about who you are and what makes you tick. I have some self discovery resources for you right here on this website.
2. Try Harder
As you roam around planet earth living your life, you are likely to encounter three categories of people:
- People who instantly get you without you even trying.
- People who want to get you but need help.
- People who aren’t going to get you no matter what you do.
If you have crossed paths with too many number threes, you may have given up even trying to get people to understand you. You might have been unfairly criticized or judged one too many times. You might have stopped trusting people altogether. You might have lost hope.
While it’s totally understandable that you have landed at this point (lots of assholes out there), you might miss out on great relationships with number ones and number twos if you never ever even try again.
People Who Instantly Get You Without You Even Trying
Number ones are people who instantly get you without you even trying. They are often the same Myers Briggs personality type as you or a close one. You recognize them because they feel like home. You feel an instant connection. An intuitive knowing that you are on the same page.
But even with this category of people, you have to be willing to reveal yourself. You have to be willing to take the risk. Be vulnerable. Show who you are. That’s the only way to connect.
If you just stay quiet or only talk about superficial things, even number ones will have a hard time figuring out who you are and understanding you.
People Who Want To Get You But Need Help
For those of us with a less common personality type, encountering number ones can be rare. But relationships with number twos can be just as rewarding. It just takes a bit more work. These are the people who want to understand you, but need help. These are the people who care about you, but are different enough that they don’t instantly get what you are all about. You need to help them understand.
This is where self awareness and ability to communicate clearly come in handy. In order for people to understand you, you need to be able to explain to them what you prefer and what you need. Tell them what you like and don’t like. Explain why.
The more you work on Step #1 – understanding yourself – the easier it becomes to do this. You could also try journaling or just writing things down to organize your thoughts.
3. Quit Trying
People Who Aren’t Going To Get You No Matter What You Do
When people don’t get you even after you’ve given it a good honest try, it’s a sign that they are not your people. Accept that and move on. Don’t waste your time waiting and hoping for change. This is about them and not about you.
Some people are just not going to understand no matter what. They are not capable of seeing another person’s point of view. Or they believe in “my way or the highway”. Or they just don’t care enough to listen.
But that’s okay.
You don’t need everyone to understand you.
You need some understanding and some validation.
But you don’t need it from everyone.
So work on understanding yourself first and foremost.
And then focus on clear communication with people who have the capacity to understand.