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Are You Misunderstood By Other People?

May 11, 2023

One of my favorite things to do indoors is to watch Chinese drama series. There was this one series that was set in ancient China, several thousand years ago. A warrior’s daughter was questioned in front of the Emperor and his officials. Some officials were doubting her character and wanted to destroy her image in front of the emperor. They somehow received a letter from a former official. That man did a wrong thing and was stripped of his title.

The letter was describing how the warrior’s daughter said unkind words when he was about to be fed by the guards. She grabbed the bowl, which consisted of rice, meat chunks and vegetables, threw it on the ground to feed the chickens.

At this point, several officials were questioning why she could be so rude and unkind. Before she could utter a word, someone continued to read that letter. The author wrote that, after a short while, those chickens died – after eating the bowl that was meant for him. While the warrior’s daughter was acting as if she was selfish, ruthless and downright evil, she was in fact trying to safe the former official’s life. That warrior’s daughter was quickly redeemed.

Let us travel several thousand years back to the present. Are there times when others misunderstand you?

Are there times when you are doing one thing and mean well, while others think otherwise?

As we all have individual brains, and each brain is wired differently, it is impossible to for two people to have exactly the same perspectives all the time. When you have different perspectives to view things, your feelings and actions will be different. While you expect the other person to see things through your eyes, they do not. It is easy for two people to have a misunderstanding if there is a lack of communication.

How do you feel when you are misunderstood? It is common to feel frustrated especially when others think that you are doing something for a purpose other than your own. You may also feel unseen or unheard and feel less worthy about yourself. This may happen anywhere and anytime, at work or at home.

There are things you can do when there is a misunderstanding. First, it is to recognize there is a misunderstanding between you and the other party.

Then you get to decide if you want to dissolve this misunderstanding or to leave the way things are for the time being. As described in the above story, the warrior’s daughter chose to be misunderstood to protect the former official. She thought that was the best way to do it, without the poisoner of the food discover what she was trying to do.

Remind yourself that there always can be incessant opportunities of misunderstanding whenever there is human interaction. It is part of life. It is your choice to do something about it or not. If you choose to clarify the situation or your actions, communicate. Talk to the person. Be curious and ask questions, find out where the misunderstanding stemmed from. Discuss how you feel.

Always remember that, misunderstood or not, you are worthy no matter what.

Be always true to your values, and act accordingly. Stand your ground. To do things with the main purpose of pleasing others rather than of integrity is unnecessary and is in fact harmful.

Many people are misunderstood by others because we often have a pre-set opinion about someone or something. We sometimes do not even give a chance for the other person to be himself/herself.

I invite you to be open to others’ point of view, others’ words and actions. The sooner you address the misunderstanding, the quicker it is to eliminate it. You get to decide what to do. Know what you want first.

If you are a physician who is misunderstood by others, especially at work, I am here to help you, so that you can regain clarity, leave work on time and love life. Message me for more details about our 1:1 Physician Coaching Program. 

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