For those who have been reading my blog for a while, the sudden theme change may be a little confusing, especially if you kept up to date from January when I took a break from blogging for a while, but up until then I was still going into productivity methods, tools and work related processes.
Although I liked the Better Ways of Working name, it felt like I was aspiring to too much with that title, and there were many times when I wanted to diverge more significantly away from work related contents, but that didn’t really fit with the original theme I had created. So here we are now, with the rebrand, How Not To Go Bananas, which will cover the same topics as before but I will also expand more into ways we can live a better life, or just a more balanced life.
So to kick this thing off (besides the recent March posts, which are on theme with the rebrand anyway), I’m going to talk about one of the things that used to drive me bananas; not understanding others.
Not Understanding Others
I’ve been different from most people for as long as I can remember, From primary school, I had very few friends, and I couldn’t understand why other children behaved the way that they did. This has continued for my whole life, up to this day, and for the majority of my life was a great source of displeasure, uncertainty and confusion.
In the more recent years, I have been reading several books (which I’ve linked to in other posts) and reduced my urge to judge others and observe them more objectively. I can’t say that I’ve actually come to understand people that much better unfortunately, but I did learn something valuable for myself that has made interacting and dealing with other people much easier; it is okay not to understand them.
I used to feel that if I could understand why someone had behaved a certain way or taken certain actions, I would find how it was justified and perhaps be more in agreement with them. This is the sort of thinking you see in the comments sections of Facebook, YouTube and major news sites. People debating what they understand to other people and getting frustrated that what the opposition are saying to them just doesn’t make sense.
I’ve realised that it doesn’t actually matter that I don’t understand other people, I can try my best sure, but when someone does something that makes little sense to me, I can just accept it as something I don’t understand about that person and then choose to accept that about them and move on, or decide if it’s enough to make me reassess the relationship.
As a pretty major example, I seriously do not understand my mother and sister, even though they are my closest family and I grew up with them for over 20 years.
I was dependent on my family, but there were many emotional needs that I didn’t have met with them, and so I never developed really strong feelings for them, besides familiarity and the appearance of safety that comes with it.
For the past two years, I’ve been frustrated about how I didn’t understand them. I sent them books, we had long conversations, we argued. I told them how I felt again and again but didn’t get anywhere and I couldn’t understand why. Eventually it all came to be too much for me and I started seeing a therapist last year to try and reconcile my feelings about them. It was here that I started learning that it was okay that I didn’t understand them, that they were different and I was different and it was okay for that to be true. Lately I’ve felt a lot better about the differences and while I have asked them both for space, I have been developing some ideas in my mind to explain how different we are and how we don’t, and might never, understand each other.
I learned years ago that not understanding everybody was okay, but it’s only recently that I extended that to my family. Accepting that truth has made me a lot less anxious and a lot more comfortable with how my life and relationships are with people.
So in a society where everyone is touting ‘understanding’ as the path to social harmony, maybe accepting the lack of understanding is a counter-intuitive method, but it’s certainly working for me!