How Do You Handle Being Misunderstood?


Have you ever dealt with being misunderstood?  What about its’ multiple effects?  Sometimes being misunderstood is such an irritant.  But, at other times it means nothing.  Do you agree?  Does it bother you when you are misunderstood?  Or, perhaps you’re the type who could care less.  Either way, there are many reasons why people misunderstand each other.  Sometimes misunderstandings result in friendly clarification.   On other occasions they lead to dissension.

Here’s an example of one that went well:

I recently had a phone conversation with someone about their career goals.  I said, “I know you will be glad to use what you learned while you studied for your degree.”  She said, “I pay attention to words; and you said, ‘utilize.”  She took my comment to mean, “It’s about time you work in the field of your degree.”  I said, “WHAT?    That is not on my mind!  I am happy you will soon be able to use what you learned.  I didn’t mean any harm.  I can relate.  I will be happy to finally start teaching at a university.”  She chuckled, and told me, she has experienced people asking her when will she start working in her field.  We kept talking and enjoyed our conversation, as we always do.

Some misunderstandings speak volumes to what’s behind them.

Have you ever been in a team meeting, and the leader asked a question without addressing a specific person?  Wouldn’t you think the question was for anyone to answer?  Yes?  Why would someone who answered before you, get offended by your response?  Why do they take your answer as a personal attack against them?  Why would this happen; especially when your reply was not directed at them?  This has always perplexed me.

Perhaps they misunderstood you.  But why?

Why did that person become offended by your answer?  You never mentioned their name; or said to them, “YOU have to do this or YOU didn’t do that.”  You included yourself, and said, “We.”  You spoke of the team.  So, why…

Maybe the intensity of your reply sparked their intimidation.  If you have years of experience with a subject; there are times when you will fervently express your thoughts.  Most of us give passionate and direct answers when we are talking about something dear to our hearts.  It is normal to include the experience you have with the subject at hand.   This helps to confirm your answer.  To improve a difficult situation, most people give general scenarios of what hinders and what helps.  So what was the problem in this situation?

Maybe you hit home with this person.

Maybe your answer unhinged a mask?  Maybe it uncovered fake?  Maybe you stirred up imbedded animosity?

But why?  Perhaps this person…

  • Is guilty of doing the very thing you described as a hindrance to the team.
  • Has personal issues that have nothing to do with you
  • Has low self-esteem
  • Is insecure
  • Has residue of pain from past attacks
  • Has a need to prove themselves to others; especially to leaders
  • Is intimidated by your intellect
  • Is encumbered by jealously
  • Covets your position
  • Covets your anointing
  • Covets your notoriety
  • Covets your favor
  • Covets your beauty
  • Wants to tarnish your reputation with others.
  • Just might not know their purpose

So what do you do?

Examine yourself.  Make sure the motive behind your comments is not to hurt anyone.  You know how we do things.  Some of us can say something that is subliminally meant to straighten a person out.  But, when your intention is to only see the team work effectively as a team; there is no hidden agenda.  Speak what the Lord tells you to speak.  Don’t allow someone else’s inhibitions cause you to put up a wall; and smother your voice.

But how?

In an effort to help the team, how can you explain the dynamics of team synergy without someone taking it personal?  You can’t.  Even if you start by saying, “This is not at anyone;”  someone might get offended.  This happens at family gatherings; on the job; in personal relationships; in school, college or seminary classrooms;  in sororities; and in ministry.

My friends, that is why you must pray when you begin your day.  Pray before going to work, school, events, or church.  Pray before meetings (in person, or via conference calls).   Pray for those who misunderstand you.  Pray!   When prayer fills you, and you are in tune with hearing the Holy Spirit, you will hear when the Lord says, “Say it!”  You will do and speak what the Lord tells you to; only when He tells you to.

How do you handle being misunderstood?

Keep going.  Make sure you do not try to run over others during your push to succeed.  Yet, do not allow the opinions of pessimistic naysayers cause you to stop.

I asked my son Justin the question to this post.  His response was intense…..

  • Justin said,  “I do not worry about what others say about or think of me.  I do not give others the satisfaction of knowing they got under my skin,  I do not expect people to understand what I am doing.  But if I am doing something for my betterment; that is what I am going to do.  People do not see what I am up to; and will attempt to distract me.  I’m trying to work on not letting other people’s misunderstandings stop me.  Caring about what others think caused me to make an unwise decision in my past.  But, not any more.  Look at Job (in the Bible).  He lost everything.  His friends misunderstood.  His wife told him to turn from God.  If he had done what they wanted, he would not have obtained double in the end.”

Remember, they misunderstood Jesus; but He kept on going.  He fulfilled His purpose on earth.  He denied His Will; endured the shame; and went on to the cross.

Go on, my friends, tell yourself, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work.”  (cf.  John 9:4). Walk in your purpose; whether you are misunderstood or not.  Don’t let being misunderstood paralyze you.  Spring beyond all hindering walls.  Do it!

Thank you for joining me today.   I will leave you with the question of this post.  “How do you handle being misunderstood?”   Think about it.   We will talk soon.






Originally posted 2017-05-18 11:00:32.

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