All of us go through life being misunderstood at least some of the time. How can we ever completely understand each other when we have all walked different roads, with different life experiences? We can't. We can try. We can put ourselves in others' shoes and develop empathy, certainly. But we can never hope to be completely understood by others. Here are some words of wisdom from the minds of some experts about being misunderstood.

Sometimes your light shines so bright that it blinds people from seeing who you really are.― Shannon L. Alder

Now and then there are people in our lives, regardless of differences in life circumstances, who understand us immediately. Some of us are blessed with some relatives, friends and acquaintances who although we are different in so many obvious ways, and don't get to catch up terribly often, but knowing they are there is such a comfort for understanding. They are a rare gift indeed, but they are certainly possible to find.

At other times though, there is a connection with people up to a point. We can see them as the best relatives, best mate in the world, the most beautiful partner, or whatever, and this feeling can last for years, months, or briefly. Then one day we see them through clearer eyes and we realize that the friendship and/or relationship is not actually as healthy for us as we once thought.

This is a part of life and the impermanence or temporariness of things. Sometimes though, in learning to honor our own heart and give ourselves the love that we give to others, we can be misunderstood completely. Those who had us pigeon-holed or branded into being one sort of person may then accuse us of being someone else.

Extracting or detaching ourselves from someone we still care for, but someone whom we know that deep-down is actually not the nicest person around, is not always as easy as that person may think it is for us. Such decisions can be heartbreaking, but the inner voice of wisdom will not be silenced long-term. It reminds us over and over of how it is time to honor our own needs and that despite the history, it is time to let go and move on.

However, some relationships and friendships are definitely worth the work. The amazing growth that can come from honest communication and emotional maturity is healing and life-changing in the best of ways.

Sometimes though, our heart tells us over and over that it is time to let go. Breaking the habits of that friendship and/or relationship may leave us being very misunderstood, spoken harshly of, and accused of not being the person they thought we were.

There are two circumstances that lead to arrogance: one is when you're wrong and you can't face it; the other is when you're right and nobody else can face it.― Criss Jami

We can only do our best to be understood, and especially to understand ourselves and our own deepest needs. One of these is to know our own love and to listen to our own heart, even when it tells us to go in directions we know will bring us (and possibly others) pain. But not listening to our heart brings much, much more pain in the long term.

Honesty takes courage. Sometimes though, so does silence. Breaking patterns, not continuing to explain ourselves over and over, and knowing we will be misunderstood, are sometimes necessary in order to honor our own heart and health. I sometimes live by the motto "Never Complain, Never Explain". Sometimes explaining takes far more effort than it is worth.

Feel compassion, certainly. But sometimes that compassion has to be a detached compassion, from a distance, with trust that the other party too is on his/her own journey and that we have both played the role we were meant to in each other's lives, in order to facilitate the growth we are both now experiencing, individually.

Letting go is not always easy. But sometimes, it is absolutely necessary. Staying silent is not always easy either, but sometimes too, it is also necessary.

By Tim Pedrosa


In order to share one's true brilliance one initially has to risk looking like a fool: genius is like a wheel that spins so fast, it at first glance appears to be sitting still.― Criss Jami