How Are You Misunderstood?

One of the most difficult things about being human is how isolated we are. No one truly knows us, and every day we are misunderstood — sometimes in big ways, sometimes small.

Unfortunately, it is all too easy for misunderstandings to arise. At work, at home, at school, our image of ourselves is different from what others see.

You mean one thing, but say something else, even if what you say is close to what you meant. Your actions are misinterpreted. Your motivations are misassigned.

No one knows what goes on in your head but you. No amount of exposition, no amount of explanation is sufficient for complete understanding.

Despite our best efforts, our inner monologue is something that is unknown to all but ourselves. Even the people that know us best — our parents, our spouse, our loved ones — often misunderstand us.

In what ways are you misunderstood by those around you? How do you act, what do you say, which of your written words are misinterpreted? What traits do you have that go unheralded or unappreciated? And what do you do to address this?

Related questions: How do you think others see you? How are you underappreciated? Do you feel lonely? How do you talk about yourself?

What Would You Write Songs About?

Songwriting is an unusual way for us to communicate with other human beings. If you were to write songs, what would you write about?

We are all familiar with listening to songs. We hear them on the radio, in movies or TV shows, on the Internet, and so on. We sing them to each other, and we might even sing in the shower, because the acoustics are so good!

And yet, despite being familiar with music, only a very few have much skill and experience in writing songs. The act of creating lyrics and music together to form a memorable, catchy tune is not easy, and it takes time and practice.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss a related question: ‘What does your favorite music say about you?’ We also discuss a bonus question as well, ‘Where does authority come from?’


Most communication is verbal, of course, although we also communicate non-verbally as well. Music, however, remains a unique way to communicate with our fellow humans. There is something special about music and how we react to hearing it. It can tap directly into our emotions in a way that everyday speech might not be able to easily do.

With that in mind, imagine for a moment that you are a songwriter. What, then, would you write about? Many songs deal with love, although there is no shortage of other topics as well.

What would you write songs about?

Related questions: Why does music evoke emotion? How does creative expression help us to know ourselves better? Music: Make or listen? Where do ideas come from?

When Have You Felt Like A Stranger In A Strange Land?

You can feel out of place when you are halfway around the world, or right next door. Have you felt like a stranger in a strange land? When?

If you take a trip to someplace you have never been, you might feel like an outsider. Particularly if everyone around you speaks a foreign language, or you are far from home.

However, it is also possible to feel like a stranger at a party where you don’t know anyone. Maybe everyone else seems to know each other, or have something in common. If you are not in a particularly outgoing mood, it might be very isolating.

“Speaking a foreign language” may not refer to English, or French, or Japanese. If you are the only single person in a room of married people with children, you might well feel like you don’t understand what anyone is talking about. Or a book person in a room full of jocks, or a plumber in a room full of computer programmers, and so on.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What makes a place feel like home?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What beliefs do you have that might be wrong?’


Of course, being a stranger isn’t always bad. On a vacation to a new destination, you might find some natural beauty that you love. New places might bring new architecture, new art, new experiences.

Similarly, at the party full of strangers you may meet a new best friend. Or at the very least, you may have an interesting conversation about something you don’t know much about or haven’t heard of. Trying new things can bring about positive change.

Of course, it might not. And even if it does, that doesn’t change the level of discomfort you feel when you are surrounded by the unfamiliar.

Have you ever felt like you don’t belong? Have you ever felt like a stranger in a strange land?

Related questions: What do you like about travel? Why do we feel the need to belong? What is uncomfortable but rewarding? When did you last push the boundaries of your comfort zone?

Limerick Or Haiku?

Are you more likely to read a limerick or a haiku? Which are you more likely to write?

Share why if you wish.

Limerick Or Haiku?