you WILL be misunderstood.
it’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when. your motives will be questioned, your heart will be interrogated, your actions will be condemned. people will assume you hate them with the bitterest of vengeances when really your heart is just collapsing, and you don’t have the strength to convince them otherwise. people will demote you to an enemy when really you just wanted to be a friend. people will convince themselves of your faults so they don’t need to remember their own.
you will be labelled, categorized, put into a neat little box and set away in their minds.
and it will drive you to insanity if you let it.
our deepest need as humans is to be seen and cherished, so when someone looks on you and deems you un-worthwhile, or at least simple-minded and therefore simply a subject to dissect and set aside like yesterday’s biology project: our soul cringes. it screams and fights to be understood in its fancies and loved in its faults.
you WILL be misunderstood.
people will think you have bad taste in music. they will stick up their noses at your tacky sense of humor. they will find the beautiful things about you to be your main flaws. they will need you to be who they have scripted for you or else they’ll leave without an explanation.
they will box you up, all the precious pieces of you, and tuck you away in their minds, sharpie marker on the cardboard reading: “too much” or “ not enough.”
and let’s not be naive: we will do the same to others. because reducing them to the way they harmed us is the easiest way to deal with the pain: but it’s never the way to heal from it. because demoting them to a criminal and ignoring all their grandeur makes us feel invincible: but demonizing fellow humans simply feeds our bitterness. it puts our heart behind bars instead of them.
the cure to this predicament of oversimplifying wild and glorious souls? i’ve found it to be threefold.
for starters: there’s a God who understands you to your core. He sees all the ugliest parts of your hidden past and present, yet still plans you a bright future. He finds you in your muck and declares you worthwhile. He created you with that crooked smile that you don’t dare to share and fearless heart that loves too much. that silly taste in music? He doesn’t box you into that. He sees every nook and cranny of you and loves you all the more.
you are precious in His eyes, my dear.
there’s also the chance you will find some rare creatures that find you as you are and declare it to be beautiful. creatures that don’t leave when you’re no longer the fun friend or when the carefree days turn into cloudy ones. the ones that don’t find your worth in your rightness but in your kindness. those who will stand beside you in the bits of passion and the days of rage and the years of frustration. they not only find the gold in you but they stay. they will see you. they will know you. and they will support you.
knowing that another soul sees me as i am and accepts me as i am: it’s akin to the feeling i get when my name is spelled right on that plastic coffee cup in the midst of mornings of horrific misspellings (where on EARTH did you get that z???). finally. someone gets it. the spelling is no longer a cause of confusion, the pronunciation of my name no longer produces blank stares, but suddenly my name fits me, the letters find their place, and i am content in its uniqueness. in that moment i’m not a novelty or a frustration: i’m strong and i’m sure. and i think that feeling of stepping into your own skin and being reminded that you are not a strange phenomena or a exasperated sigh, is what it truly means to be understood and loved.
finally, you need to find a way to deal with those who don’t see you. because, like we said, there will be people who misinterpret your intentions and simplify you into a mold you don’t fit. you can find ways to fight back tooth for nail, belittling their minds and hearts in an attempt to enlarge yours… but really that just causes more souls to feel unheard and unseen. you can fight to get out of that cardboard box, flailing your arms and begging to be known… but exhausting yourself keeps you from giving the gift of being known fully and loved fully.
i’ve found shaking off the misinterpretations works the best, remembering your definition is outside of their control. be someone who refuses to define others as anything less than complicated and beautiful messes and you will provide them room to grow, grieve, and give. let’s be honest: that’s what life is all about.