“Though I may speak, some tongue of old; or even spit out some holy word; I have no strength, with which to speak; when you sit me down and see I’m weak.”
These are the opening lyrics to a song from Brave, “Learn me right.” (Yes, it inspired the titles of my last two posts.)
It took me a while to even like this song, but I realized eventually that it was a description of how I felt about myself.
You see, like many Christians, I believe that God endows us with some of His power. (My faith gives me strength in other words.)
Like the song says, as much as I could quote the Bible or pray or even speak another language, (I actually speak three,) I lost it when it came to speaking up for myself.
I have no problem standing up for other people. I actually can be reckless in doing so and get myself into trouble; and I have no problem defending myself when I have done nothing wrong, but when it comes to explaining myself, there I have a problem.
A reoccurring scene in my life is one of having an older person take me aside, with one or two other adults, and explain to me how I’ve offended them with my behavior. (I have talked about this before, but I don’t remember how many people read that post, so I’m retelling it.) This has not happened recently…exactly, but it has happened a lot.
Anyway, once I realize what’s happening–again– I start to feel nervous, I freeze up. I have a hard time speaking.
I came to see that this bothers me so much because I feel weak. I can’t defend myself, and there is no one there to defend me. I also feel exposed, and not by my own choice.
I get angry very quickly when this happens, and though I don’t feel angry at the time, the feeling comes later. I can’t believe how I’ve been humiliated. And let me tell you, I’ve had some mortifying things said to me.
Honestly, when you don’t speak, people take that as an invitation to keep explaining your problem until you want to scream. Though I know I have done this to others too, so I can’t judge.
What has always insulted me the most is that people go behind my back and appeal to someone who has the authority to threaten me, punish me, and make me miserable at home; instead of coming to me first.
I know they meant well, but that is not the same as doing well.
I’ve been around the block now myself, I’ve been in a position of authority and had children misbehave and disrespect me. It is very annoying. A lot of the time it is also unintentional.
I can’t say I always handle it right either, but I do try to go directly tot he person who I have a problem with, and then to an authority if and only if that fails. you know what’s ironic though? Often the authority I go do doesn’t actually fix the problem by backing me up; they often throw it back on me.
I’m not saying all this to vent. I’ll bet you’ve had similar experiences.
But let’s talk about the most painful part, being misunderstood.
“I’m misunderstood,” can be used as an excuse nowadays. When it is used in that way, it’s probably not true. You may be perfectly understood to be a brat, or a wimp.
But, often the claim is made in frustration. Someone may have tried and tried to get their point across and found it was like they were speaking gibberish to the other party. That’s legitimate pain, and it’s happened all through history as well as our private lives.
If you’re like me, your personality may be so unconventional that people don’t know what box to put you into and so misunderstand your words, tones, and actions often. And sometimes, I actually deserve to be reprimanded, I’m not faultless.
Or you could be misunderstood because of crossed wires due to someone else’s accidental or sometimes intentional interference. That hurts a lot and you have my sympathies if that’s you.
Or, you like completely different things from the people around you and they think you’re a freak, or at the very least an oddball and they can’t connect with you.
whichever of these you are or have been, you’ve probably asked, along with me, what’s the solution?
Well, what’s not, is to do what a later verse of the song describes:
“So I had done wrong, to prove (put?) me right, my judgement burned in the black of night. When I gave less than I take, it is my fault, my own mistake.”
Two wrongs do not make a right. The worst thing for any of us to do would be to react poorly. Don’t retaliate. Don’t send a hate email or whatever. Don’t blast the person in question to you friends on social media.
Don’t judge too harshly, remember the chances are you will do the same thing, we all have misunderstandings.
Also, and this is hard for me, don’t be afraid to look in the mirror. Make sure you were giving it your best effort, otherwise perhaps some of the criticisms or miscommunication is your own doing.
Give more than you take. Then, at the very least, you’ll be able to look back and say “I did my best, and I put the most effort into making this work. It was not for lack of trying.”
It rarely happens that the situation has changed drastically for me, but I have changed. I’ve gotten tougher, but also more willing to apologize, even if I believe I was in the right.
I’m still working on the right way to stand up for myself, but nine out of ten times, peace is better.
“We will run and scream, you will dance with me, we’ll fulfill our dreams and we’ll be free. We will be who we are, and now heal our scars, and this will be far away.”