One of my struggles has always been feeling like I am misunderstood. As such, I had developed a propensity to over-explain to in effort to reduce being misunderstood.
I have worked over the years to reduce the need to over-explain and I’m making good progress. But sometimes there’s a snag. Sometimes the odd person, often of goodwill, makes a whole bunch of wild-assed assumptions based upon preconceived ideas and miss the mark by a prairie mile. Assumptions (ass outa U and me) are often based on how they see the world through their own blind spots without context. “Here let me take the sliver out of your eye” while you are starring at the obvious plank in theirs!
One learns quickly that if you protest, try to correct or explain, or provide more context then you are assumed to be defensive. They are so committed to their anemic analysis that they are closed to any new information that doesn’t support their myopic judgements .
This is a risk of being genuine and vulnerable with people because you will be misunderstood, judged incorrectly and unfairly - by well-intentioned people. People who “have to” help even when their help is unsolicited.
Sometimes your legitimate normal emotions, hurt, and indignations are used as ammunition in their assessment - a kind of gaslighting. Truth be told, often these folks are projecting their journey, and what they are working on in their own lives. For example someone reads an article on the web about Narcissistic personalities and now they are diagnosing everyone they come across!
Sometimes, if they are a little insecure, they can be more concerned with appearing enlightened, as a healer than truly empathizing and understanding. In a sense, their need to be seen in a certain light betrays a sincere desire and gifting to help.
I am learning that in such instances, I listen very carefully to what’s being said. I remind myself that most times people speak/judge as they are not as things are (remember Jobs friends). I choose to believe they are often well-intentioned. I ask myself if what they are saying is accurate? Partially accurate and if so, what gift can be received and which things I don’t have to receive - and then choose to let that go.
Sometimes boundaries get crossed and it is perfectly appropriate and necessary to address the issue directly.
I have a smile on my face as I thank them for their care and thoughts but I have learned not to give in to the fear of being misunderstood (it often leads to them doubling down on their original judgment).
I am learning that I don’t have to accept everyone’s judgment and assessment of me. I am discovering afresh through the eyes of love that my value is not based on my ability to meet others' expectations. That I am not bound by their opinions, even when they are well-intended.
Friendly fire is a fact of life. We have to establish some healthy boundaries and understand that not everyone gets a say - the same access to our life. I appreciate some may say that they love me, and they probably do but I am more interested in the feedback of people I share life with, those who through the day to day have earned the right by demonstrating love (and are more likely to have a better assessment) to speak into my life. It is here I am much more likely to find wisdom and insight.
The takeaway is you don’t have to explain yourself to every person who has an opinion of you, nor do you have to accept every unsolicited analysis, even from a friend. You are free to accept any legitimate gift while being free to let go of that which doesn’t fit. Remember we are under no obligation to accept bad gifts regardless of the good intention of the giver.