“No one understands me!” As adults, we may think that this statement belongs back in the days of junior high. Something blurted from the depths of a tortured adolescent soul before stomping upstairs to the bedroom and slamming the door. It’s a something that is written a heart-covered pink diary with a miniature lock on the side.
Hey, guess what? This thought, “No one understands me?” It still comes up here in the adult world. We go to a social gatherings and someone says something that rubs us the wrong way. We open up and share something and-surprise- there is no “aha!” moment of feeling connected. Instead, we get a funny look. We may feel this way around friends, family, or even our significant others. Then this sad, junior-high voice whispers in our ear “no one understands me.” And it sucks.
What can we do about it? We are adults now. We are so much more mature than we were back then. Stomping? Screaming? Pink diaries? We swapped those out for Starbucks, online shopping, and Netflix. Maybe even a glass of wine to emphasize our adult-ness.
During those times it may be wise to remember something: the wine, the latte, the Netflix…it’s the same as getting candy thrown at you as a kid. A temporary Band-Aid but not a solution in itself.
Our junior high self wants some attention. And even more desperately than our junior high self craves other people’s attention she wants your attention. Real attention. Consider a time when a close friend or your child reached out when he or she was in pain. It’s okay to offer a treat but that’s in addition to what matters more- to look at him or her eye to eye, deeply listen, and offer love, concern and support.
We can do the same thing for ourselves. When these feelings of loneliness arise, take a few moments and stop. Feel the feelings and breathe with them. It’s okay to feel lonely, awkward, misunderstood, or sad. Name the feelings, sit with them. Doing this is like giving our junior high self a hug. Choosing to be good friends to ourselves can make all the difference in the world. Feeling listened to, understood, and loved unconditionally just as we are is what our soul thirsts for. We can offer this nourishment to ourselves at any time we need it. We can choose to be there for ourselves, our whole selves, even the junior high parts that are awkward and sad. Especially for the junior high part that is awkward and sad. Our junior high self is who needs a friend the most. Be there with love.