All anybody really wants is to be understood
When we strip away all the external gumpff of life – careers, materialism, happiness, love, power, fame and fortune…surly all we really need, all anybody truly wants is to be understood?
To be seen and heard. Beneath everything else. The real us, our core self, our soul, understood and accepted for who we are.
But being understood, let alone accepted is a tricky business and is actually all about us and what we put out there in the world. With all our wounds and experience of life, all our subconscious learning, it can be a mind-fuck understanding and accepting ourselves never mind allowing anyone else close enough to do the same and fulfil that need. But if we don’t communicate, show people who we really are, how can we possibly be understood?
Feeling misunderstood can be a painful one for sure, until we start to understand and accept ourselves, then we realise that those who mind don’t matter and it’s those who don’t mind that do. It matters not what the general population think of us, but we care a lot about what those closest to us think, of course we do. When we feel misunderstood by someone we love it can be incredibly painful. It’s those who matter to us that we crave to be understood and accepted by most. But equally, it’s those very people we can be most afraid to show our true selves too.
It’s a real pickle. A fucker of a catch 22. Exposing ourselves is hard, being vulnerable is hard, as much as we might want to. Life has a way of beating us down, our own thoughts do too. We can become battle-hardened, develop guards and barriers that keep us safe but simultaneously and unwittingly hold us back, preventing us from being true to ourselves and being understood by those very people we want to be understood by more than anything. It’s a bastard of an inner tug-of-war. A real fucker.
But actually, it’s often those people who see all of us through our external stuff anyway, beneath our defences, to our charms and our shadows. Understanding and accepting us completely, unconditionally, without us even realising it. Our true believers, our cheerleaders and our champions.
Our guards are a necessary pursuit, something we all need at certain points in life to get us through. There’s no shame in our protective barriers, there’s actually a beauty and strength in them, a realness. Experience, resilience, strength, something to be admired and proud of. They’re parts of who we are, but they don’t define us and can hold us back if we hold on to them too tightly.
Those who mind our guard don’t matter, those who don’t mind will understand them. Sometimes, those we love and those who love us can understand and see us in ways we may not yet do ourselves. Ways that perhaps we don’t fully believe, whether we like it or not. That can be a bitch of a thing to accept, because well, we try so hard to protect ourselves and can become convinced about who we are listening to those voices of ours, so people seeing the real us that we try so hard to protect is scary. From the wounded parts to the best of us. Thing is, it’s inevitable and doesn’t always have to be quite so scary. It takes time to get to know people, and a lot of trust.
If we want to be truly understood though we kinda need to be consistent. Consistently, authentically us, as much as possible. Which means being brave and showing ourselves sometimes when it feels uncomfortable too. It means learning about who we are, better understanding ourselves, accepting ourselves, our perfections and imperfections so that others may do the same.
It’s hard to trust people, even ourselves sometimes. Lowering our guard is often a risk we’re not prepared to take – until we are. In doing so we can perhaps then believe other people as well as ourselves, believe what others see in us (that perhaps we don’t). Trust more and begin letting go of the things that we’ve learned and believed along the way from those who harmed us or those we didn’t let close enough to understand and see our worth. Perhaps they themselves weren’t worthy of us, or perhaps we weren’t ready to see our own worth.
Perhaps that’s how we can fuck self-doubt off and see that we’re not only enough, but that we’re perfectly amazing in our imperfect awesomeness and the right people will not only see that, but love the shit out of us for it. Helping remind us of who we are in the process. Because it’s the same for all of us, none of us are perfect but we are to someone, somewhere. This is why looks, status, wealth, what we have and don’t have really doesn’t come into it. In being understood and valued for who we are. There is nothing authentically us in any of those things. It’s just surface level stuff.
But that’s not why we need to be authentic, it’s not for anyone else, it’s not for us to be understood by others, we need to do it for ourselves. Understand and see ourselves for our own self-belief and self-worth to grow. We are not what our negative thoughts tell us, the voices from our past are echoed by those who ‘minded’ what they saw in us and how they treated us. What we consciously or subconsciously learned as young people. What people mind, how they treat us, is a reflection of them, so any negative opinion or treatment of us matters not.
Feeling understood is more about ourselves than it is other people. If we don’t show ourselves, how can anyone else begin to know us. We need to show that shit. We have nothing to be ashamed of in being us. Our authenticity is a major part of living and falling in love, of feeling connected, understood and valued. Feeling part of something else, a friendship, a partnership. Of finding people like us, people that are good for our soul.
And understanding ourselves is a major part of feeling contentment, fulfilment, inner peace and happiness, all of which resides within, something that can perhaps then enable us to be seen and better understood by others in the process, encouraging all those wonderful feelings of love and partnership – feeling understood and accepted. Those things we truly want and need, just to be seen.
When we meet people there is often an unseen energy that brings us together. An ora we show, an unconscious vibe, the biological pheromones, the fluffy chemically induced feelings, the romance and excitement of newness, the physical desire and attraction. This is all out of our control, it just is, but we show so much of ourselves without even realising it, whether we have our protective walls up or not.
We can feel an inexplainable connection with someone instantly, a visceral belief in someone or something, but that connection isn’t knowing, it isn’t understanding. It’s human nature at work, our basic primal instincts. ‘Love at first sight’ therefore cannot exist, because you can’t love someone until you know them, understand them, trust them. As much as we jump to that explanation when we get those fuzzy feelings. It simply isn’t love and understanding. Not yet. But it is a back door to our true selves that we leave open, one that the right people might well see.
Regardless of our initial connection to someone, getting to know someone else takes time and proximity, just as it does getting to know ourselves. It takes closeness and vulnerability. It takes communication, effort and the willingness to do so. It takes consistency, authenticity, openness and honesty. A big chunk of bravery and the removal of our own ego and protective barriers. It requires trust and faith, in both ourselves and someone else. To feel understood, to be seen, is a wonderful thing, right at the very heart of feeling loved and valued. But it doesn’t come easily and is often dependent on us, what we put out there in the world. Which is why being authentic is so important.
But being ourselves is scary. It’s hard. We don’t want to feel rejected. All those things that are required to be understood require a lot from us. A lot of risk, relinquishing of control, with very little in the way of guarantees. It doesn’t happen quickly either. It can take years to truly get to know someone…and even then, can we ever truly know someone else? Ourselves even? And that’s the hardest part for us all to practice – faith. To trust blindly is, whether we like it or not, always involved. An absolute requirement each and every day. Both in ourselves and in the promises made by others. A continuous act of faith.
That’s the scariest part, for all of us. But sometimes, sometimes we glimpse it, we feel it, just enough to make us believe before doubt, fear and all our history creep back in. As scary as it is, once we sample it, there’s no escaping it. It becomes what we crave and is rooted in a deeper consciousness, deeper understanding of self, meaning and purpose in being human.
The more we learn about and trust in who we are, the more authentic we can be in the world outside of us and the more we can fulfil that need to be understood and appreciated for who we are, by ourselves and by others. And with those who love us, we can perhaps share that feeling for the rest of our lives (if we’re lucky). Those are the special ones, our true believers, our cheerleaders, our champions. Our best friends and biggest advocates. One of whom should always be ourselves.
The path to being understood, being accepted, lies within. With being unapologetically us. We are all amazing, we all have value that nobody can take away from us (as much as some may try). We need to be open to recognising our champions when we come across them.
Being ourselves feels scary, but in doing so, we come to realise that that feeling is living itself. That feeling is love and acceptance at work. That feeling is what being human is all about, where love and happiness reign supreme.
To be seen for who are is a wonderful thing. All we ever actually need to understand and accept is that we matter. All of us. End of story.
Don’t be afraid to show yourself.