Do you ever feel like you’re speaking a different language from the people around you?
Do you often find yourself keeping quiet on a subject because if you say something, chances are people won’t get what you mean and end up judging you?
I get it, I really do.
You see, I spent my adolescence and early 20s feeling misunderstood – hoping that one day I’d finally come across someone who got me and really saw me.
Sometimes we imagine that nobody gets us and at other times they really don’t because we’re not sure how to communicate or express ourselves.
One thing is for sure, feeling misunderstood can feel very isolating.
Let’s take a look at 10 traits that show you feel misunderstood:
1) You’re quiet and withdrawn
You probably have a couple of close friends but steer clear of everyone else.
You avoid big groups of people and you almost never go to parties or any kind of large gathering.
You’re convinced that other people don’t get you which is why it’s so much easier to avoid them altogether.
How accurate was that?
This is typical of anyone feeling misunderstood.
2) You have a hard time expressing your emotions
You’ve probably had a few bad experiences in the past when it comes to expressing yourself.
Maybe you were eager to let a friend or romantic partner into your world and when you tried to talk to them about your feelings, they didn’t react how you expected them to.
- Did they laugh?
- Did they dismiss or invalidate your feelings?
- Did they completely miss the point of what you were saying?
Whatever it was, it clearly had a great impact on you.
You have difficulty expressing your emotions because you don’t know how they’ll be received.
But that’s not all.
The fact that you feel misunderstood in life often gets in the way of your relationships.
People end up thinking that you’re cold or closed off because you don’t know how to communicate your feelings.
3) You have a hard time forming connections
Chances are you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t need other people, that you’re okay on your own.
That’s because it’s really hard for you to make friends and form real connections with others.
And the reason?
Your fear of being misunderstood, judged, and ultimately – rejected.
You’ve been hurt too many times before and now you have a hard time trusting someone and believing that they’ll understand you and where you’re coming from.
4) You’re extremely sensitive
So am I.
That’s why I have a hard time hearing anything remotely critical of me, I immediately think I’m being personally attacked.
Here’s what I think it is – all we want is to connect with others and feel accepted and validated, so when we think we’re being misunderstood, we also feel like we’re being judged.
We care too much about what other people think that it makes us jump to conclusions about how they perceive us – often incorrectly.
5) You’re also super defensive
Following on from the previous point…
Because of your heightened sensitivity and inability to accept criticism, even when it’s constructive and well-meaning, you become defensive.
You feel so misunderstood in life that ironically, you often end up misunderstanding other people’s intentions – feeling like you need to defend yourself from their perceived attacks.
The constant sense of being misconstrued has made you afraid of being judged and rejected, prompting a defensive reaction to any perceived threats.
All in all, your defensiveness is actually a psychological shield that’s supposed to protect you from potential misunderstandings and criticisms.
6) You have a creative outlet
Did you know that people who feel misunderstood in life make for great artists?
You see, because they feel like nobody gets them, they end up full of emotions that they need to express somehow.
So what do they do?
They end up channeling their emotions into art.
Take me for example, I studied photography and film directing! I also love to draw, paint, and work with clay. And look at what I’m doing now – I’m writing!
What about you?
Do you feel it’s easier to express yourself through art than to talk to people?
7) You need external validation
Despite the fact that you may have convinced yourself that you don’t need other people, deep down all you really long for is a strong connection with someone.
You love to watch FRIENDS because it depicts exactly what you think close relationships should be like.
Sometimes you wish you had a twin so that you’d have at least one person in the world who got you.
The fact that you feel misunderstood really gets to you because what other people think of you really matters. You yearn for their approval and validation.
You’ll probably work twice as hard as anyone else to prove yourself at work.
And when it comes to social situations, you’ll try to impress everyone with your clothes, accessories, and other material possessions, or to sweep them off their feet with your stories.
In short, you just want someone to recognize your worth and pat you on the back saying, “You’re really something…”
8) You avoid conflict like the plague
If you find the prospect of confrontation overwhelming and anxiety-inducing, and if you’d do anything to avoid it, it could be because you feel misunderstood.
Hear me out.
The fact that you constantly feel like no one gets you doesn’t make it easier. Every new time there’s a misunderstanding you feel judged.
You don’t feel like you have any energy left to explain and defend yourself anymore which is why you flee from arguments.
In fact, you probably let other people get away with saying all sorts of nonsense, just for the sake of peace and harmony and not having to explain yourself once again.
9) You tend to overexplain
Feeling misunderstood can be quite frustrating.
It makes you wanna shout, “WHY DON`T YOU GET IT?”
So while some people who feel misunderstood may withdraw from the world, others will try even harder to fit in and be heard.
That’s why you may be someone who tends to overexplain things – to make sure that everyone gets what you’re trying to say.
10) You have low self-esteem
“Why doesn’t anyone see how awesome I am?”
Finally, if you feel like no one likes you, like they don’t think you’re worth loving or spending time with, or if you feel like people are quick to judge, chances are you don’t feel very good about yourself.
Even if you know that you have this rich interior world that people just fail to see, this constant feeling of being misunderstood could have a very negative impact on your self-esteem.
5 things you can do to make sure you’re understood
Look, you can’t change the way people think about you. There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t get you or like you, no matter what you do.
What you can do is take some actions that will help you communicate better and ensure that overall, you are being understood.
Let’s take a quick look:
The first thing to do is to take a long hard look at yourself.
Reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors – be as objective as you can.
Try to understand how your communication style is being perceived by others.
Also, look for any patterns in your communication that could be contributing to misunderstandings.
Work on improving your communication skills
- Work on expressing yourself clearly and concisely, i.e., get to the point.
- Practice active listening to better understand others.
- Use “I” statements to share your thoughts and feelings.
You may wanna read a book on the subject or see if there’s a class related to communication you could take.
Ask for feedback
How can you actually know if people understand you or not if you don’t get any feedback?
Now, it may seem like a strange thing to do but trust me, it’s in your best interest…
Ask your friends, family members, and coworkers what they think about how you communicate.
See if they think there’s an area you could improve in.
And remember not to be defensive! You need their help.
Clarify and confirm
Now, when it comes to communicating important information, I recommend that you ask others to confirm that they heard and understood what you were saying.
You wanna make sure that there is no ambiguity and that they’ve got the message.
Be mindful of non-verbal communication
Finally, remember that we don’t just communicate with our words, but with non-verbal cues as well.
Be mindful of your body language because your words may be saying one thing but your body another – which could contribute to quite a few misunderstandings.
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