Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Do you really understand me?

I have been thinking lately about how two people can be having a conversation and one or the other (or both) don't really understand what the other person is thinking.

There is a famous comedy routine by Abbott and Costello called "Who's on First?" Here's a link to a transcript http://www.baseball-almanac.com/humor4.shtml They are having a conversation yet neither one can communicate effectively with the other (obviously).

So connected with that thought it came to me that we really don't understand other peoples realities as much as we think we do. We can understand objects and certain ideas but they are colored by our own realities. If you account for the differences in male and female, children and adults, culture, religion, the time of day. There are a lot of variables that can make it so that two people having the same discussion could come away with a different idea about, what was said, what should be done and what the motives of other people really are.

Beyond all of that I have discovered that someone could have an underlying condition that they are unaware of that can effect there perception of the world, how they react to other people, whether they are aggressive or assertive, whether they are meek and unassertive.

Also people get clues from other peoples posture, facial expression, stance, what they are wearing, what they are driving, how they talk. Sometimes the other person is aware of the message that they are sending and other times they send off unintended messages and are unaware of it.

Here are some examples from my own experiences. When I was eating wheat (and other allergenic foods), I had a subgrade headache all of the time, I had a type of brain fog that made it difficult to navigate around and to think clearly, I was unable to run for very long, it was difficult to find energy to clean, cook and do other normal daily activities. I also had a sort of paranoia when I was around a lot of people I would like to find a desk to have in front of me, or a book, or a wall, or to sit close to someone I liked. The isles of stores seemed narrower and less navigable. Plus I had a lot of anxiety, I felt obsessed with every little imperfection.

I always had to be working on my goals. Plus I didn't really know how to prioritize and what I was really interested in because I felt like I needed to know everything. So I would write out goals and relentlessly work on them, a lot of goals were actually based on trying to do be perfect. As I have gone back now I have totally lost interest in some of my previous"goals." I was unable to understand myself, I was constantly searching to try and find out. I was constantly reviewing my past to try to make sense of it.

Also I was not able to feel comfortable with the slightest bit of disorganization, even in other peoples homes I felt compelled to clean and organize. I was unable to always keep everything clean but I felt the disorganization in my home like a weight. I would hold off for as long as I could on totally obsessively cleaning and then it would break out at the oddest times especially if life felt out of control. I would then stay up all night cleaning, stay home from church to clean, stay home from work or from school to clean.

I would put off enjoyable things, for some reason I would sabatoge myself. When I was invited to fun activities or when I was in charge of something I would start a project that sometimes didn't even have any value in and of itself. I couldn't quit I had to finish it, I would stay up at nights even.

Now my whole world has changed, I am at ease and comfortable in all social situations. I am not intimidated by almost everyone. The isles of stores seem open and easy to navigate. I am able to be more rational. I am less impulsive (I used to buy things I knew I shouldn't, then return them later when I had thought it over, now I am less inclined to do that). I am starting to understand myself better, set goals that I want to acheive and that I am excited about. My relationship with my family has improved, my ability to communicate is better. One drawback is that I have lost some of the drive that used to keep me learning and reading more and also some of the intuitiveness which came from extreme concentration (because of the constant headache and brain fog. I had to really concentrate hard or I would not be able to keep on task, or complete a project, following step A to step B. Government forms were especially hard). I am learning to get some of that back though and I am still an avid learner plus I still always like to keep busy. I think it would be easier for me to buy a car now, since I can think through things more easily. Plus I would like to see how well I could do at a job. But right now it is nice to be able to take care of my children.

So now that you know a bit more about where I am coming from, I would like to take my general premise a bit further. I submit that it is possible for someone to have a relationship with someone and have misunderstandings the entire time. If they don't even know themselves then how can they fully know someone else.

Yet I know that there are other factors. I was attracted to certain people, people that I could feel like I could bond with, I still am. A lot of my friendships are made this way. Now I am even able to talk to those people that I was unable to before because of my own inhibitions. But I cannot become close to someone if we don't connect somehow.

What is sad is that I inadvertantly hurt some people by not knowing myself and not fully understanding them either. I cannot talk to some of them now, but if I could I would appologize for what had happened. I would hope that they understood, and that I could fully explain myself. I would tell them that I thought about them a lot and missed them but knew that I didn't really know them as well as I should have. I would tell them that I was happy because I feel so much better. I am able to run, I am more in control with myself. I have accepted what life has given me. The only complaint is that several relationships ended with misunderstandings.

That has been a sadness that has stayed with me, as I take walks down the river trail by my house, I remember my friends, I feel like I need to cry but cannot. I felt very connected, they brought out so much good in me. I wonder what our relationships could have been like now. I regret losing them, I still love them. I love my friends and family now, I really do, in fact I wish to see my children grow and to be a good wife. But I still have a dear love for the friends I have lost. I wish they could know that I never meant to lie to them or lead them on. Things just worked out that way and I regret it. Hopefully I will see them one day and they will be happy.

Anyway, these are my thoughts on misunderstandings, these are my thoughts and regrets. Hopefully I will be better able to avoid big misundertandings with others again, I will sure try.

~Strawberry Girl

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