Monday’s Meditation: On Why It’s Okay If No One Else “Gets It”
Do you ever feel like the people in your life who you know care about you just don’t get it?
I find myself discussing this notion with great frequency as of late, as friends, clients and acquaintances explain that although they’re sure their loved ones do, in fact, love them, they also have the sneaking suspicion that those people don’t really understand what it is they’re up to in life.
Sometimes, in attempts to better understand, loved ones ask lots of questions. Sometimes, they ask nothing at all, for fear of revealing how little they get it.
Generationally, this disconnect makes sense, especially as it concerns one’s professional life. The professional landscape has shifted so radically, and the careers that people are now pursuing are vastly different from those of previous generations. Whereas there once was a seemingly finite amount of professional roles one could fill, entrepreneurial endeavors, each of them as unique as little seashells, are the new norm.
(This disconnect has to be felt most by youtubers attempting to explain to their parents or grandparents that they sit in a room in their houses and talk to a camera for a living.)
This division doesn’t have to be a generational one, though. It occurs just as frequently between friends, old and new, between siblings, cousins and so forth. One of life’s most awkward promises is that we get to see who people decide to be, and when that reality doesn’t mirror the picture of them we’ve carried around in our minds all these years, we can feel baffled. In some cases, we might even feel betrayed.
There’s a certain catch-22 happening, as I see it, which is that fundamental to any connection is a sense of understanding and of being understood. We feel close to someone who we feel “gets us.” At the same time, a grasping of the details of another’s life does not count for more than genuine care and concern. The reality is, those two things do not always go hand in hand.
So, why isn’t the fact that others care and love us enough? Why should we expect others to fully understand the intricacies of our lives, anyway? Why do we need and want them to so badly? Why is it so frustrating when they don’t?
Ah, so there it is: on some level, this desire for others to get the nitty-gritty of our lives, to be up to date on every latest detail, may stem not from a place of relational need, but from insecurity. Because to tell and be understood by others is to have our life choices seen and signed off on, in a sense, which is exactly the sort of affirmation we want when we aren’t fully grounded in our decisions.
And for their part–for the side who doesn’t understand, what is the repeated attempt to flesh out the details, to understand the nitty-gritty but an attempt to feel secure in the connection?
In either case, the reliance on the sharing of information can often indicate a lack of assuredness; in oneself, in one’s relationships.
The irony is that–even if having our lives be fully understood by others is the ideal–it isn’t necessary. Thorough comprehension of facts does not predicate genuine care and concern.
Lots of really loving parents, grandparents, family, friends, coworkers, peers, and any other kind of relation love each other enough to understand whether the person they care for is happy and fulfilled or not. Even if they can’t grasp the intricacies. Even if we don’t have the patience to try and explain them. Their understanding that we are happy, healthy, and lit up about what calls to us in life is more often than not all the understanding we really need if we feel confident in our choices.
My mom, the one person who I wish could be able to read this blog, is unable to. On some level, that tears me apart. But on another, on a more enlightened wavelength, it’s really completely okay. She doesn’t need to read this blog in order to know me, love me, feel connected to me or understand that I am happy. Because I am grounded in what I do, I don’t need her to know every detail in order to feel she gets me.
Maybe that’s the thing; you find the common ground you can. And maybe it won’t be every thing or every area of your life. Most likely, it won’t. And that’s okay. Because there’ll be some other, more important reason that you understand each other and feel connected to each other.
The rest are details.
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