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Why don’t they understand? When people don’t react to our situations in the way we expect.

01 Sep Posted by in Motivational Speaker | Comments

As a motivational speaker, I talk a lot about getting stuck in a pothole along the yellow brick road of life. Sometimes it’s shallow, and sometimes it is so deep it seems that it will never end. I don’t care who you are or what you have, your life will be filled with potholes – times when the life you envisioned does not match the life you got.

In these moments where we stumble, we are in great pain and we feel alone – like nobody can understand what we’re going through. And we look around at the others who share our journey, cross our path, and wonder how they can be so normal when our world is falling apart?  How they can complain about curtains, when we’re worried about how we are going to feed our children? How can she whine about her job when I’ve been out of work for a year? Suddenly the earth has shifted and we feel like there are two groups – me and my pain, and the rest of the world without any pain. And we begin to resent them.

It is important to remember, no matter what you are going through, that other people are going through stuff too. Maybe you don’t deem it as important as your stuff, in which case I would gracefully remind you that it is not your place to rank who’s pain is more important. Maybe you don’t even know about their pain at all because they’ve chosen not to share it with you. You’re just standing in the middle of yours and it changes your perspective. So even during those times when you’re hurting, be sensitive to the fact that you’re not the only one crying. I know it sounds callous but bitterness is a heavy burden for you to carry – and whether your pain is deep and lasting or short and temporary, you still can’t control how the other people in your life will act, and you must let go and forgive when they don’t match up to your expectations. It’s something you do for yourself, not them.

It is in these painful situations where we are also most sensitive to the comments of others, or lack thereof. There’s a reason why, when we hear about someone else’s horrific pain, that we often disappear – not available for comment. Because we can’t think of one single thing to say that will make it better, or that would be a positive contribution. So we don’t say anything at all. And you call us unfeeling. Or we do say something and you react in horror at how we could be so callous as to say something like that! How could we say that – do we not know what you’re going through?

No. We don’t. And even if we did, it’s still not the same – it’s still not YOUR situation.

So understand that nobody else will ever really understand. Nobody else will ever completely sit in your place. Let go of this need to have them understand – forgive them their lack of words, or lack of the right words. Appreciate their loving intent, or forgive them their selfish disinterest. And it works both ways. We forgive those who don’t understand our pain, and we forgive those who are in pain and don’t understand our reaction.

People will rarely act according to your expectations. The sooner you can let that go, the lighter your burden. I’m sorry if my words hurt you when you’re in a sensitive place – please forgive me – as it certainly was not my intent.

(PS: And despite the fact that nobody on earth will ever really understand – you have a loving creator who does. Turn to Him. He will never let you down. He will wipe away every tear. He will listen to every rant. He will hold you when the pain gets too tough – and carry you when you just can’t walk anymore. And He most certainly fulfills every promise. Turn away from the world and turn to Him.)

Your favorite, if not only, motivational speaker who doesn’t always have the right words,

Kelly Swanson

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