I really want to be understood. I want someone else to know what I’m feeling. I don’t want to be alone.
And yet, lately I’ve been pushing people away with my anger.
There are a lot of scary things in life. So I use a lot of brain power worrying about these things. In an attempt to be calming, a common platitude offered is “You don’t have to worry about it” (or they add the foreboding “yet” at the end). They mean it in a loving manner, but their best intentions nonetheless trigger me to anxiety. This statement makes me feel that the speaker has no clue. The fact that she claims there is no need to worry is clearly a demonstration that she doesn’t understand the situation. And now, not only do a have a stressful situation, I’m left with teammate who is working against me!
Almost immediately I become terrified and either start flighting or fighting. If I feel I can’t avoid the situation, I become somewhat of a bull in a ring–terrified and lashing out in desperation. Anxiety rushes in and I feel panic and alone, unsafe and in danger.
Hopefully you can’t relate at that level (anxiety is irrational). And yet, I wanna bet that every human can relate to the pain of being misunderstood and the calming essence of feeling understood. I want to be a voice for every bristly human who is putting up her guard because she does not not feel safe and understood. I’m advocating for seeking to understand instead of seeking to pacify. Seeking to hear before seeking to teach. Seeking to connect before seeking to fix.
“I can hear your fear and I understand why you’re scared. I’m sorry, because I know you don’t want to be afraid and it’s so exhausting when things feel unsafe.”
If you responded this way to me when I was starting to get bristly, I probably would cry. I know that is likely enough to scare you away, but I want you to know that it would only be because I needed it and this statement would make me feel understood and safe enough to release my tears.
I’m asking to be understood and helping those who care about me to understand me.
I want to hear and understand you, too. I welcome comments.