Truth Is, We All (Mis)understand Each Other Very Well
“It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that misunderstandings are sure to make a grand mess out of things.”
- From the ultimate classic novel on misunderstandings, Pride and PrejudiceYou know what’s the root cause of the most destructive wars and disputes?
You know, the time when you say X and the other person interprets it as Y and then they botch things up until everything is broken beyond repair.
The saddest part is, there is no way of knowing that misunderstandings are about to happen. There are no formulas, no reconciliation statements, nothing.
There’s no way you get an alert on your phone or mail, saying, “MISSION ABORT! MISSION ABORT! THIS PERSON THINKS YOU ARE CONVEYING EVERYTHING IN THE WRONG WAY!”
Misunderstandings, to put it simply, are like rising volcanoes. There’s no process, no system. Boom! They just happen.
And you know what the worst part is?
You really cannot control how the other person chooses to interpret your actions. You really have no way whatsoever to read their minds and then tell them, “Oh, no, no, no! I didn’t mean it that way, buddy. Hear me out!”
The harshest truth is, people will only interpret what they want to see. No matter how rational/objective they claim themselves to be, they will perceive things the way they want to perceive it as.
And this truth, my dear reader, I really learned it the hard way this year.
Generally, I go with the assumption that I’m affable as a person.
I won’t go ahead and boast that people are attracted to me because I exude an aura of extreme magnetism and I look so helpful and kind.
(No, if I say that, I’d cringe at myself)
But on a general basis, I don’t pick up people’s flaws and let my prior judgment influence the way I treat people.
Sure, there are people that I’ve had horrible skirmishes with people I just can’t get along. But even those bitter relationships are based on clear-cut incidents, no misunderstandings involved.
However, a couple of months back, I had some of my bitterest, harshest fights with some people because they misunderstood my actions and because I misunderstood theirs.
If not fights, I got to know from third party friends that a couple of individuals have a capital P problem with me.
And the worst part is, these people who have a bone to pick with me, didn’t even bother to tell me about it.
Previously, for every third person, I’d ask, “Please tell me if you have any issues with me or my conduct, we can resolve this and make everything go happily ever after!”
The stupidest part was?
I’d ask them about a 100 times if they’d have a problem with me.
And they’d constantly say, “Good God, no, we don’t have a problem with you!”
But after hearing about the views of these “dislikers”, something inside me completely snapped.
By snapped, I don’t mean I turned into Carrie from that Stephen King novel and went batshit crazy on all those people who wronged me.
By snapped, I mean, I felt a lot of things at once.
There was disbelief – hazy, grey shock that a person really deeply disliked me.
There was hurt – white hot pain that after investing so much positive energy into keeping every relationship alive, I was considered as not being worthy enough to be friends with.
There was disorientation – dark, stormy clouds of disillusionment decking all over me, lined with questions like, “Is it worth trusting anybody at all?”
A while later, as I brightly went on with my life in the day and darkly pondered over it in the night, a small voice in my head whispered, “Damn, no matter what happens, no matter how much you beseech for resolving issues, some people are bound to dislike you, darling.”
And the truth is?
This voice was a hundred and ten percent correct.
No matter if I revamped myself into the modern day Mother Teresa, some people would just choose to hate me. They wouldn’t give two cahoots if I chopped my hand off just to make them happy.
Because when people decide to hate somebody for good, they just hate them. There’s no love involved at all.
A close friend of mine keeps telling me lately, “Every bad incident that happens to you, you have to learn from it. You can’t be bitter about it.”
You know, from the story I told you about, I don’t mean to victimize myself and paint myself as the poor little good girl. I really don’t want to do that.
What I really want to do is: learn.
In these issues, there could be a high chance that I have faults of my own that I need to correct upon.
So, from whatever I know as a result of what I’ve heard from these issues, I am trying to work on those flaws and be a better person.
And what I’ve also concluded from this is: ask the other person, at the most three times, if he/she has issues with me.
If they say it and are willing to resolve it, then it’s completely fine.
If they don’t say it and if I continue to get the vibes that they have issues with me, I am just going to stay quiet about it and do my thing.
There’s no point for me to constantly make myself sick with worry and think about how my actions will be perceived.
I extended the hand from my end. It’s now up to the other person to resolve the misunderstanding.
And I’ll strive to think that the other person is just another human being and not a Dark, Dark Villian in my life and I’ll not consciously try to make the other individual magically like me again.
It is easy to just go, “Oh, that person hates me!” and then hate them till the point that the relationship is broken beyond repair. Heck, even I’ve done this many times and I’m not proud of it.
But in order to combat these misunderstandings resolve them, it’s really imperative to see the person opposite you as a person and not an opponent.
Because it’s when you see their point of view, you’d understand where you went wrong and then, you grow.