Do you ever think, “No one understands me!”?
It’s a lonely, shitty feeling, isn’t it?
Have you ever poured your heart out to someone, but then they just sat there and stared at you as if you have a nasty, oozing growth protruding from your forehead?
Are there times when you do things, but your behavior doesn’t make any sense to anyone but you?
You explain things, but people react by making snide comments, or they lecture you, or worse yet – they just try to stay away from you.
When you feel like “No one understands me!”, it makes you feel empty inside, don’t you think?
And that’s a bit of understatement if you ask me…
It’s more like a cavernous pit has been gouged deep inside your gut that incessantly aches and gnaws at your innards.
There are people nearby, talking and chatting, but there’s an impenetrable chasm between you and them.
You faintly hear them talking, but the thunderous silence of loneliness buzzes and ricochets inside your skull, drowning out their words.
You feel worthless and utterly alone.
Does it feel this way for you?
There is Good News, Though…
You can eradicate this feeling forever.
And it doesn’t involve shelling out thousands of dollars to a therapist or spending years laying on a psychologist’s couch talking about your childhood traumas.
In fact, you can get rid of this nasty, gnarly feeling starting right now.
How cool would that be?
- You walk around bursting with confidence and pride.
- That aching, cavernous pit in the depths of your gut? Gone.
- And what about that nagging sense of worthlessness and the utter lack of motivation?
A thing of the past.
You can barely even remember those feelings now.
- Every day is a new adventure full of possibilities that you just can’t wait to experience.
- You’re bursting with self-confidence, and you know – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that you have a lot to bring to the table.
- Some people totally get you, and some don’t. But either way, it’s perfectly fine with you.
- You’ve met people who actually want to hear your thoughts and opinions.
They want to be around you. And most importantly, they understand you.
This isn’t some pipe dream.
It is entirely possible, and I’ll give you some tips on how to make it happen.
Now. Not a year from now.
But first, let’s look at some of the reasons why you might feel that “No one understands me”…
There are a lot of reasons why you might come to the conclusion that “no one understands me”.
The truth is, no matter why it happens, it happens.
So, the pertinent question is really, “How can I make it go away?”.
Personally, I feel that ruminating about “why something is the way it is” is useless.
I want actionable steps to overcome the problem.
I don’t want to wander into the past to discover the “why”.
In the past, I am mired in memories, most of which I’d rather forget, anyway.
Besides, the past is the most helpless place you could be.
You certainly can’t change it, and when your mind is there, it isn’t in the present, which is the only place where change can happen.
So, why spend time there?
But, I know that some people care about the “Why”, so let’s briefly review a couple of the main reasons why you may feel like no one understands you…
1. Are You Depressed?
Thinking “No one understands me” is the kind of thinking that’s pretty common with depression.
Of course, depression is serious, and depression is one of the most soul-sucking feelings that exists.
If you need help overcoming depression, by all means, seek help.
I’m not going to belittle it because I, too, have been overcome by severe depression in my life, and on several occasions, my life nearly ended because of it.
Seek professional help if you need help.
Seriously. Right now, go online and seek professional help or make a phone call.
If depression has overcome you, you’re gonna have to exert a lot of effort over an extended period of time to change your thinking and hence, your mood and physiology. It all starts in your head.
And you might need professional help to do it.
So, if that’s you, take a tiny step to reach out. Right now, go online and seek help or make a phone call.
There are people who understand and can help, and they aren’t all expensive medical professionals.
Therapy is accessible and helpful for some, and it’s inaccessible and not helpful for others, so just know that there are plenty of other avenues to pursue if you truly want help climbing out of that depressive pit.
But in any case, depression could be a causative factor in why you feel like no one understands you.
2. It Ain’t You!
In case you haven’t noticed, there are a massive amount of people care about themselves a LOT more than they care about others.
They do not, and will not, put forth any effort into trying to understand you.
While you’re over here feeling bad inside, thinking things like:
- “I’m worthless!”
- “No one understands me!”
- “I’m weird!”
- “They have people skills that I don’t have!”
- “There’s something wrong with me!”
They’re probably sitting over there not giving you a single thought.
Scientists have even discovered a specific section of the brain that is wired to create this tendency to focus on ourselves instead of others. It’s an innate, human tendency.
It’s also important to know that it takes effort to empathize with and understand others.
According to social psychologist Heidi Grant Halvorson, people will put forth as little effort as they need to – and not an ounce more. If you think about it, I bet you can see examples of this in your own life.
If your circle of friends or family don’t understand you, take a look at them. Are they even attempting to put forth any effort to try to understand you?
Don’t take it personally.
The inability to be understood by others might very well have nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.
There are two fundamental avenues you can use to overcome this “No one understands me” thinking.
It goes without saying that both avenues involve changing yourself.
You can’t change others, and what’s “out there” always starts with what’s in your head anyway, so if you want to create change, change yourself.
That’s where your power lies.
You can choose one or the other, or you can work on them both.
Are you ready?
Let’s get started then!
You can find my best advice in Avenue #2, so if you want, just skip this section and go directly there.
However, there are exercises you can do to improve how you come across to others and how you can communicate more clearly.
Choose a few of the following exercises that are pertinent to your situation, or download a list of all of them, carry it with you, and work on them one by one.
A. Could You Be More Assertive?
It’s possible that you think you’re communicating clearly to people, but your communication skills might not be as strong as you think they are.
If you have a habit of “hinting” or indirectly telling people what you think, and then you expect them to read between the lines and understand what you’re saying, consider working on your assertiveness skills.
Chances are, improving your communication skills could vastly improve how well others understand you.
Here are three great resources to get started. Two are inexpensive books, but if reading isn’t your thing, check out the great course offered by Hay House:
B.Might You Possibly be Boring?
How many times have you visited a website and quickly discovered that it looks like every other website? It spouts the same old, overused tips and phrases. It hands out the same advice or offers the same products a zillion other websites are offering.
You click away, and 2 seconds later, you don’t even remember the website you just left.
People are like that, too.
So, let me ask you:
How much do you have to bring to the table?
Joann graduated high school, quickly got a job as a cashier at the local convenience store, and has spent the last 15 years getting up in the morning, going to work, coming home, and vegging out in front of the TV for hours on end.
Occasionally, she spends hours scrolling through her Facebook feed or takes her dog to the park for a round of fetch, but, basically, that’s her life.
She doesn’t read. She doesn’t travel. She doesn’t make any effort to go outside of her comfort zone. She coasts through life on the bare minimum amount of effort, day in and day out.
When she gets together with friends, what can she contribute? Does she have any interesting stories or adventures to share? Can she discuss an interesting discovery she read about in the latest issue of Nature? Can she show off this new trick she learned?
No, she can’t. She hasn’t put anything in, so nothing can come out.
Her friends acknowledge her presence, but when she leaves at the end of the evening, they don’t give her a second thought or even remember anything she said.
She’s like that website that you scroll past because it has nothing new or interesting to offer you.
Now, change direction and imagine someone you respect and admire.
Imagine they joined you on an evening out with your friends.
Are they a font of interesting stories and insights? Do they move around and gesticulate with excitement as they describe this cool new place they recently discovered?
Who do you think those friends want to hang around with – Joann or your chosen person? When they lay down to go to sleep at night, who will they think about and remember?
Take a look at your own life and make a list of what you have to offer. Think long and hard and note all that stuff you think is “no big deal” (chances are, it is a big deal).
This exercise isn’t meant to make you feel inadequate. It simply gives you the chance to look at yourself from the outside in and see if there are some areas in your life where you could improve.
Do you waste too much time on things that just “kill time”, like watching TV, scrolling through Facebook, or any of the myriad other ways you can escape reality (e.g., playing video games 10 hours a day)?
Take a good, hard, honest look. If you discover that you might benefit from investing more time into self-enriching activities, sit down right now and make a list of 10 things you’d like to try or learn about.
Can’t come up with anything? Download a list of ideas here:
Starting tomorrow, cut at least 1 hour from your time-wasting activities and devote it to doing something from your list. Do this every day, at least 5 days a week.
Before you know it, people will clamor to be near you because you’re interesting and fun to be around. They’ll ask for your advice, and they might even secretly strive to be more like you.
Self-improvement improves yourself, of course, but it also emanates outward and improves the lives of others.
Of course, it doesn’t work that way with everyone, so don’t expect it.
Some people will hate you, some will envy you, and some will actively try to destroy you.
Just ignore them as best you can and continue doing your thing. Be a beacon of hope and inspiration in this world.
Work hard on improving yourself, and you won’t have time to sit around and worry about why people don’t understand you or treat you the way you feel they should.
C. Gather Honest Feedback
It’s a verified fact that how you see yourself is probably pretty far off from how others see you.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could just step outside ourselves and see ourselves the exact same way others perceive us?
That may not be possible, but you can become a researcher and gather insights from others to better gauge how you come across and how well people understand what you’re trying to convey to them.
Here are three exercises, but I’m sure you can come up with a lot more ideas yourself.
Remember, though, strangers will often give unbiased opinions whereas close friends and family members are more likely to just tell you what they think you want to hear.
If you seek feedback from your inner circle, demand that they provide you with completely honest, unbiased feedback.
a. Video Record Yourself
Has this ever happened to you?
You think you look pretty good, then one day, someone takes a picture of you. You look at the photo and gasp in horror. “Wow! I’m fat! I had no idea I looked like that!”
(oh, that’s just me?)
The point is, people think they know themselves fairly well, but when they watch themselves on video or see themselves in a photo, shock ensues.
We don’t often get the opportunity to see ourselves from the outside in – unless we actively try to.
Here’s one way to do that:
- Put up a video camera that records the room you spend the most time in. Let it run continuously for at least a day.
- Review the footage of yourself interacting with others.
- Listen to your speech. Are you happy with how you communicate with others? Could you improve?
- Look at your facial expressions. Does your body language indicate disgust or anger toward the people around you, or do you seem pleasant and friendly? (I apparently roll my eyes at people quite often, and I had no idea!).
Watching yourself on camera is a great way to critique your personal interactions and take note of where you can improve.
If you want feedback, ask for it!
It feels pretty lame to walk up to someone and say, “You know, I’m trying to improve myself. Can you tell me what you like and don’t like about me?”.
You’re probably not going to get any constructive feedback that way.
You can, however, distribute a questionnaire. People are quite familiar with feedback questionnaires, and they can answer freely without having to look you in the face and tell you things you may not want to hear, especially if they get to fill it out anonymously.
You can download a sample questionnaire here:
You can choose “Save a Copy” if you want to use this one. All your responses are recorded and saved in a spreadsheet for you.
If you don’t want to use Google Forms, though, you can use one of the many survey services online to create (or just write up your own) and distribute your own feedback survey.
Send it to friends and family, but you can also give it to casual acquaintances who only see you occasionally, like the mailman, your fitness instructor, or the hairdresser who regularly cuts your hair.
The more feedback, the better!
Remember the telephone game from your school days?
It goes like this:
This exercise uses the same premise.
Throughout your day, when you tell someone something and before they respond, ask them, “Can you please repeat back to me what I just said?”
You might be amazed at how often what they repeat back has nothing to do with what you actually said 😊.
If so, that means there’s room for you to improve your communication skills. That’s great news, eh?
You now know something you didn’t know before and can work to fix it!
When you think, “No one understands me”, the thought is troubling, to be sure, but the feelings that result from that thought are what we want to avoid, don’t you think?
Right now, stop.
Take a few minutes to think about this.
When you think, “No one understands me”, what happens to your mind? Your body? Your relationship with others? And more importantly, how do you feel about yourself when you think that thought?
You feel bad, right? You feel lonely, worthless, or defective. You might think others have skills and charisma that you lack. You don’t want to go out and meet new people or tell anyone anything, because, well, what’s the point, eh?
We’ve agreed that the result of thinking this thought basically sucks, right?
We’re going to eliminate all that negative fallout right this minute.
How, you say?
Hear me out:
If you change your perspective, you can feel strong, confident, empowered, and carefree immediately – regardless of whether you think that statement is true or not!
Yeah, yeah, yeah…easier said than done, right?
Let me explain a tad, then I’ll kick your butt into gear and help you change your perspective. Not tomorrow. Right now!
Let’s start with a quick explanation.
It’s brief, I promise!
You have all these thoughts flowing through your head nonstop 24/7, right?
The majority of them seem uncontrollable – they just pop up at random and then run rampant, often turning off on weird tangents.
But how you judge or react to those thoughts – that’s your key to salvation.
Are you following me?
The goal at the end of this avenue is to change your reaction to the thought.
So, the next time you think, “No one understands me!”, it’s no longer a negative experience, but a positive one.
The next time you think “no one understands me” and then start feeling bad about it, I want you to remind yourself of these facts:
1. The Greatest People in History Were Often Misunderstood
If you don’t want to simply “follow the herd” and be just like everyone else, LOVE and EMBRACE the fact that people don’t understand you!
It’s a badge of honor, my friend!
It signifies that you are incredibly awesome, great, and gifted.
It’s your entry ticket into that elite club of misfits, free thinkers, and mavericks who have made this world a better place.
Embrace your uniqueness, and BE VERY PROUD of the fact that people don’t “get” you.
Need some evidence?
Take a look at some of your fellow “club members”:
Doesn’t it feel great to realize that you, too, are part of that club?
Now don’t be sitting there saying “That’s not me! I’m not great like them…”.
That’s bullshit, and somewhere deep inside, you know that.
So, just stop paying attention to such thoughts! Let them float on through…
You are not only AS GREAT as each of them, I’d be willing to bet you’re even better.
But you’re free to choose where you put your focus.
You can choose to focus on those thoughts that belittle yourself, or you can hold onto the ones remind you of your innate greatness – you know, that quality you’ve lost touch with.
Which do you choose?
I’m sure you’ve heard the famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.
I know you’re smart enough to realize how true that is.
It is not someone else’s fault that you don’t feel understood by others. It’s not their responsibility to make you feel cozy, safe, worthwhile, and valued.
They couldn’t do it even if they tried.
You are the only person who can take care of you and make sure your needs and wants are met.
Go love someone…maybe at a homeless shelter, maybe even at an animal shelter. There’s a zillion ways to give away some love.
If you want to receive something, give it away first. You’ll get it back, and more often than not, you’ll get back way more than you gave.
Maybe not now. Maybe not with this person.
Keep giving it away anyway.
I guarantee you, it’ll come back to you sooner rather than later. Maybe it’ll come from a completely unexpected source. Before long, you’ll be amazed at how much love comes your way.
Just don’t give up and quit too early.
If you have a person or people in your life who you think “makes” you feel loved, valued, and understood – remember that they’re just playing that role for now.
Don’t get me wrong, it feels wonderful.
But one thing in life is certain: people and situations change. They come, they go. They give, then they disappoint.
But never, ever, let your happiness or sense of self-worth be dependent on someone else.
Your life – and your mindset – is solely your responsibility.
If you go around expecting anything from anyone in this world, you’re bound to be crushed sooner or later. Don’t give others that power.
TAKE BACK YOUR POWER, WOMAN!
If you need help remembering that, here’s a keychain you can carry with you to remind you:
You are the only one in total control of your life, and it cannot and will not ever be any other way.
Stop blaming others or expecting them to fill the holes deep inside where you feel deficient.
Stand tall and proud, and tightly clutch your personal responsibility like an eagle who soars through the clouds clutching his prey. Remember, that responsibility includes how you think, feel, believe, and act.
Reclaim your personal power in each and every aspect of your life. That means you get to decide how lonely, accepted, worthless, or valuable you feel.
It’s a tough and lonely road to hold yourself accountable, but I promise you, it is absolutely worth it.
Enjoy the kind people and stay away from the bad ones, but don’t ever blame someone else for how you feel.
That’s all on you, girl.
You get to decide how you feel, and how you feel does NOT depend on what other people do or don’t do.
It can take a long time to fully realize that fact and apply it in all situations, but you can start today.
Remind yourself repeatedly that everything in your life is your responsibility and no one else’s.
Eradicate all those powerless, false statements that you say to yourself, like “She made me mad!”.
No, she didn’t.
No one “made” you mad, girlfriend.
You CHOSE to get mad in response to another’s actions. You could have made another choice.
You don’t ever have to feel bad because “no one understands you” again.
The power and freedom to choose how you feel are entirely yours.
Now go out there, stand tall and proud, face the world head-on, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad simply because they “don’t understand you”.