When you’re misunderstood

I shared in the women’s group this week about being misunderstood, how it hurts the heart but is also none of my business. If someone sees me differently than I am, I have to remember there is a character I play in their story. That character may look just like me, but I don’t know her that well. She doesn’t have much to do with the main character I play in my own narrative, the one who makes lots of mistakes but usually has pretty good intentions. It’s super important to me to clear misunderstandings with other people, but not everyone shares that value or wants to meet in that place of mutuality, the one Rumi describes as the “field beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing.” Sometimes, I have to accept that I will play the enemy in someone else’s story, no matter how hard I try to make things right. Still, I don’t have to hold a grudge just because someone holds one against me. 

We are now moving through the Days of Awe, also known as the Days of Repentance, a ten day period in the Jewish tradition of taking accountability for one’s self and asking forgiveness where we know we’ve misstepped. I love that there is community time set aside for this practice, as I can tell you especially from my work with grief and dying, that it really matters. No one likes to leave here with important things left unsaid and undone. But just because we try to make amends doesn’t mean we will be received with open arms. That’s when self-forgiveness and boundaries become so important. 

Boundaries mean we get to choose the state of our innermost being. You can offer love, but whether or not it is received isn’t your responsibility. Your greatest responsibility is to that quiet place inside your own heart. And so, even in this period of accountability, all relationships will not be healed. The messes may still be kind of messy. All we can do is clean up our own side and make sure we put out the welcome mat. 

Sometimes I make little cards out of my daughter’s old preschool paintings. Today I pulled this one:

I thank the friend who first said this to me, and I wish this self-acceptance for all of you as well. If you are coming from the heart and doing the best you can, it is most certainly enough. You have the power to forgive and to start over. No one can take that from you.

Wishing you strong and healthy relationships, especially the one you have with yourself,


PS–If you’re going through some challenging times with self-forgiveness and letting go, here are some October offerings to support you in your own growth and healing:

  • Counseling and Hypnotherapy for Women: currently three openings, in-person and remote options available M/T/Th/F, schedule a free call here
  • Changing Along With Change: Hypnotherapy for Life Transitions, a Restoring Balance Luncheon at Seton Cove on Tuesday, October 22nd
  • Community Wellness Hour at AOMA every Wednesday (note: we had to change rooms because we  outgrew the old one–find us now in room E1) 
  • The Women’s Release & Empower Group is currently full and closed for the fall, but a new group will be starting in late January. Check my website for more details or get in touch if you know you’re already interested

2 thoughts on “When you’re misunderstood

  1. Did you write this? It’s wonderful.

    From teacher training and reading up on Eriksen’s Psycho Social Crises.. older members of society have to live with integrity or regret .. and then face death.
    To have a faith community encouraging a reckoning with one’s missteps would be practical and emotionally healthy.
    Dad went in Valium for his pain before he died of non Hodgkins. he was suddenly amenable, really sweet and lovely and a total pussycat . Not the father I grew up with.. not the man he had to become prematurely, but .. probably his true self . Lots of letting go over his 64 years . The idea of a community encouraging this reconciliation in ones later years is definitely attractive.


    • Definitely. It’s a tradition for everyone in the community, at all ages. We never know how much longer we have here, and a person’s later years can come much earlier than expected!


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