misunderstood /misəndərˈsto͝od/


1. to understand in a way that is wrong or to give a wrong meaning

As I have had the privilege of working with individuals on a one-on-one basis, I have made it my priority to understand the concerns a person presents to me.

Have I understood every single person that has come to me? Absolutely not.

Have those people been affected by my misunderstanding of them? Absolutely yes.

To truly understand someone, you must be able to accurately connect their words to their emotions and thought process, as you reflect and try to provide a response.

In order to do this, we must remove ourselves out of the picture when someone is talking to us. We must be keen to the tone of voice, body language, emotions and thoughts of the speaker. We have to show care in observing these details. Is it possible to understand every person that comes to us? Not really. There is a lot of room for error because we are flawed humans, we each have unique ways of communicating, and have our own temperaments.

Temperament Examples in Communication:

  • Sanguine - might walk away from you, mid-sentence

  • Choleric - might only be interested in the conversation if there is something in it for them

  • Supine - might not say much since they don’t want you to reject them

  • Melancholy – might not want to be involved just in case the roles reverse and you try to control them

  • Phlegmatic – might not want to invest energy into the conversation

Sometimes our life experiences also shape our beliefs and how we communicate with, listen, and understand others. Unfortunately, some people believe that no one will ever understand them no matter what. This is because when they tried to communicate when they were young, they were either dismissed or misunderstood. If you’ve experienced something like this, it may be easy for you to relate to others while you still yearn for someone to understand you in the same way.

In addition, at times we have unrealistic expectations of others that destroy our ability to hear them. For example, in marriage, it often happens that people don’t communicate what they want, but still expect the other person to know exactly how they feel.

We all have a need to be fully known and understood. The pain of being misunderstood is very deep since we were created by a God who knows all things. He knows how much hair we have on our heads and all our thoughts before we even think them. So, if we are not careful, we will expect people to be like God, and when they’re not, we get mad at them. Ask yourself how many times you got upset when you were misunderstood. How did you resolve it? Did you blame that person or did you take time to bring the situation to the only God that not only understand, but also knows every detail of your heart?

The problem is that many times it’s hard for us to relate to others. But we should care for others because God loves and cares for them. So how do we make the effort to understand others? The best way to do this is to:

  • Get a better understanding of how God cares about your life. Your life deeply matters to God and He understands everything about it. When you understand this, it will be easier for you to understand how God feels about others.

  • Take yourself out of the picture and be patient when others are expressing themselves to you.

  • Hear God’s heart for the other person.

Hebrews 4:15

For we do not have a high priest who cannot be sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

If you feel misunderstood: Jesus understands us in every situation no matter what it is. He can identify with all pain we go through. If you are having a hard time being understood, take comfort in knowing that Jesus understand you so well.

If you have misunderstood someone else: First, forgive yourself. Then, if you can, ask forgiveness from the person who was misunderstood.

It happens to all of us. I pray that for those who have been misunderstood –

especially by me – that God will heal their hearts and comfort them, and that they can open their hearts again.


Damalie Namale, M.A.

Lead Counselor

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