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December 19, 2023

Let people be wrong about you.

“Letting people be wrong about you or a situation, while keeping your peace & focus… is the

most misunderstood power move you will ever make.”

 Morgan Richard Olivier

We typically don’t like to be misunderstood. We don’t like to be blamed. We don’t like to be ignored.

Being abused further exacerbates the pain and trauma. We become people pleasers, often becoming harmful to ourselves. We overextend. We become perfectionists.

We keep trying, in vain, to get others to perceive us accurately.

We can spend our entire lives doing so.

As we attempt to be understood for our truthful selves, there are begging statements we cry, like…

Please see me!

We want to be recognized. We don’t want to be invisible, experiencing inaccurate
“proof” that we are unimportant.

A core subtext can be, “This is wrong! It’s unfair!”

And it is.

Nevertheless, its reality persists.

We often don’t get the attunement, the nurturing, and the acknowledgement we need to thrive as human beings.

External validation from another person, therefore, often becomes all-consuming, all-important. Being seen, especially in a real way, is only achieved when “someone else” sees us.

We live or die, based upon someone else’s opinion.

Therefore, the stakes are high.

We will pay any price, experience any degradation, for the hope of love, manifesting itself as being seen.

I’ll please you (please see me)…

I’ll have sex with you (please see me)…

I’ll give you money (please see me)…

These are just a few examples of the “trade-offs” we make.

We make deals, again, with the hope that we’ll experience someone’s loving eyes looking at us, giving us value.

Let people be wrong about you. See correctly; we see ourselves.

Even though many of us have been abused and mistreated by someone else, it’s vital we focus on and acknowledge how we see ourselves. What is that?

Beyond determining who planted that harmful, inaccurate thought in our minds, we need to determine what is the driving thought about ourselves that spurns us to obtain love.

Things, perhaps, like…

“I’m unlovable.”

“I deserve to be punished.”

“I am bad.”

Those are wrong thoughts, and they need to be challenged. Often, the authors of those wrong thoughts were other people.

Whether or not that was the case, we are lovable.

We deserve good and respectful treatment.

We are not bad; we are complicated human beings.

We need to work on accepting that.

We need to work on “seeing is believing.”

Please hear me!

Unfortunately, being misunderstood involves more than just sight. It is also what is heard… or muted.

Many of us have felt voiceless and powerless. Actions we experience that support that harmful reality can include…

We may tell someone, like a trusted family member or a clergy person, about an abuse against us, and get punished for doing so, in a variety of ways, like further physical abuse, neglect, and ridicule against us…

We may have a person, like a family member or authority figure, who knowingly subjects us to further abuse and mistreatment…

We may be completely ignored for any mention of our abuse, making us feel invalidated and ashamed…

And again, that silenced voice within us screams, “This is wrong! It’s unfair!”

Let people be wrong about you. Hear correctly; we hear ourselves.

The setup for many of us often begins in childhood, originating the template that we cannot and should not speak up for ourselves.

Unfortunately, adulthood sometimes still offers no reprieve or resolution. We can still be ignored, further traumatized, hurt, and still not be believed.

In short…

Someone who is abusive has told us who we are.

It is imperative that we learn to hear what is and is not being said.

“Reading between the lines” and detective work of ulterior motives comes into the picture in these cases.

This can get to be a slippery slope of obsessing about other peoples’ choice- and it is their choice to abuse- without letting ourselves off the hook for something that is not our fault.

Radical acceptance for the harshness of others, especially employing words and verbal abuse, can begin the process of hearing our own inner voices and instincts. And those things rightly and accurately vocalize that what was said and done to us was wrong; it was never right.

It was abuse. We didn’t deserve it.

Other people may choose repeatedly to be wrong about us, to view us and speak about us in an abusive way.

But their way does not need to be our way. We need to separate the two- and separate from harmful individuals.

We do not deserve to be harmed.

Please love me!

Love is at the epicenter of our heart cry, isn’t it?

We want to be loved. We are hard-wired to be loved. And many of us don’t get that love in a kind and healthy manner.

Our experiences, unfortunately, are often more complicated, interspersed with cruelty, inconsistency, abuse, addiction, and mixed messages.

Sometimes, we believe those harsh things ARE love.

But those things don’t feel quite right. Somehow, we instinctively know that these confusing things are not exactly loving. We aren’t exactly getting the love that we need.

And, perhaps, at some point, we declare, “This is wrong! It’s unfair!”

One minute we’re hugged; the next minute we’re hit…

Sometimes, we are given attention; sometimes we are neglected….

Sometimes, we feel loved; sometimes; we don’t know where we stand…

Love correctly; we love ourselves.

“Self-love” sounds cliché.

We can roll our eyes at the thought of gurus, chanting, and trendy, gimmicky yoga and assorted health and lifestyle practices.

But self-love (and acceptance) needs to be there before, or despite of, anyone else.

Self-love challenges the language of abusive and negative people in our lives. It doesn’t even need to be a direct confrontation with the person.

Rather, it is the silent, personal, affirming recognition that we do not deserve to be talked to in disrespectful, hurtful, and derogatory ways.

We do not deserve name-calling. We do not deserve passive-aggressive and snide remarks.

We deserve kindness, gentleness, and support. These are the words of love, not the contrary verbiage we have often endured.

We deserve to be loved in this manner.

And love wants to be known and recognized.

Please know me!

That is what we want as human beings: to be known.

And many of us have not encountered others who willingly, lovingly, and consistently endeavor to know us.

Often, we encounter the reality of someone who “thinks” they know us. We encounter a person who “assumes” we are a certain way.

Do they ask us who we are? No, typically, they don’t.

The reasons they can’t and don’t ask us questions often include how it better suits their narrative if they convince themselves that we are a person they need us to be. For example, to better toe the line, they need us to believe we are inferior. There can even exist this “reason:” they just don’t care to know us.

These “reasons” can hurt. It shows a blatant disregard of our identity. It shows us the reality that someone has no problem with being hurtful and uncaring towards us.

And again, this can lead us to cry out, “This is wrong! It’s unfair!”

But these “reasons” are not about us; they are about them.

Let people be wrong about you. Know correctly; we know ourselves.

This is where it is critical to have a firm grasp on self-knowledge. We need to fully know ourselves.

And there is no one and easy path to that discovery process.

It is a process. It is hard work. Personal work. Work that only we can do for ourselves, regardless of who is in our lives, how they are choosing to act, what they are choosing to tell us.

We need to know who we are.

What is important to us? What do we want out of life? What do we want in our relationships with others?

By learning the answers to questions such as these, we are better able to protect and empower ourselves. We know that we deserve the things that make us the people we are.

And we will not be talked out of those things by anyone.

“To thine own self be true.”

William Shakespeare

“Hamlet,” Act-1, Scene-III, 78–82

Free Will: Let Them.

The ongoing work and challenge we embark on in life entails the accurate assessment of what is us, versus what is from other people.

Knowing ourselves and knowing the reasons for others’ abusive and maladaptive behaviors is only part of the process.

We must also allow everyone’s free will to choose, even if they are wrong and inaccurate choices about us. Other people can choose to believe, act, speak and be any way that they choose for themselves.

That is on them, not us.

Yes, it is disappointing and hurtful when other people don’t choose the concept that we are worthy of knowing and loving in an accurate, loving, and respectful way.

Sometimes, people choose to behave in ways that are contrary to that ideal, for any number of reasons.

They are still responsible for their choices.

We are not responsible for their behavior, no matter how many times they have tried to convince us otherwise.

There is freedom when we can realize and accept someone else’s wrong choice about us has nothing to do with us.

Let us, then, make the decision to be free, for ourselves, and not for anyone else.

Copyright © 2023 by Sheryle Cruse


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