I stumbled on a quote during a tough time that had me in knots regarding a relationship I was in. I found the quote extremely liberating as I began to ponder over it. The quote was by Paul Scanlon – “Life became a lot simpler when I decided to let some people misunderstand me”
It is a fact of life that people in our lives will misunderstand us at some point. No matter how close the relationship or not, misunderstanding is part of the package that comes with living life.
I think the key word in the quote by Paul Scanlon is ‘..when I decided’. It is human nature to want to be accepted and loved at all times. Being understood makes us feel safe and respected. However, we cannot control how others perceive us or how they choose to feel about us. But we can control how we respond to being misunderstood.
The second key word in the quote is “…some people..” There are some people that are important in our lives such as spouses, kids, siblings, team members, close friends and so on.
Here are a few suggestions that might help decide when to let some people misunderstand you.
1: When it is costing you chronic anxiety and stress that is affecting your physical health and mental fitness.
2: When they are not willing to confront and resolve the issue.
3: When in their mind the misunderstanding is far more important than the relationship you have with them. When one is committed to the relationship, they would deal with the misunderstanding having already forgiven and willing to listen carefully with an effort of understanding and reaching an agreeable solution.
What others think of you is really not your business. Be busy with what you think of yourself and how you value yourself and how you value the gift of life. If you know your value and worth, what others think of you will gradually not have any weight.
We were created by love and for love and sometimes allowing SOME people misunderstand you is an act of love from your part.
Romans 13:8 amplified version : Owe nothing to anyone except to love and seek the best for one another; for he who [unselfishly] loves his neighbor has fulfilled the [essence of the] law [relating to one’s fellowman].
Because you love them, you are giving them space to think whatever they want to think of you without judging them for their thoughts.
You never know what they are going through or have gone through in their lives to end up misunderstanding your words and your actions.
There is great freedom knowing that what others think of you and how they perceive you is not going to add value to your life. It is how you respond to their misunderstanding of you is what adds quality and standard to your life.
Love them enough to let them have their own opinion of you even if it is completely untrue.