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?

How Do Other People Motivate You?

When it comes to motivation, one type comes from outside — namely, from other people. How do others motivate you?

There are many ways that other people might encourage you to work harder, be more thoughtful, give more to charity, or many other ways to improve yourself.

For example, one way is through setting an example. If you see someone else that you respect behave in a particular way, it may motivate you to emulate that behavior.

Or consider guilt. A loved one might make you feel guilty about something you did or didn’t do. Those feelings of guilt may change your behavior.

Love, fear, envy, and many other emotions can be called upon by someone else. There are plenty of stories of people doing strange things for love. A bad boss may motivate through fear. And someone else’s success — their money, job, family, and so on — can drive you to work even harder to keep up.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of ways someone else can be a motivational force in your life. Can you think of examples from your own life? How do others motivate you?

Related questions: What motivates you? What expectations do you have of others? How do you depend on others? Who is the most important person in your life?

Out And About Or Stay At Home?

Are you more likely to be found at home, or out and about? Do you prefer one to the other?

Share why if you wish.

Out And About Or Stay At Home?

In What Are You Complicit?

There are many problems and injustices in our modern world. From the threat of climate crisis to political unrest, from mass shootings to species extinction, hardly a day goes by without hearing of the latest development on some problem front.

While it is tempting to state that you are unequivocally against one problem or another, life isn’t quite that simple. While your words might say one thing, your actions may say something altogether different.

The infrastructure that is in place in our society often acts in a certain way, due to economic and political pressures. By taking part in that overall system, you are reinforcing the behavior of the system, even if it does something you disagree with.

For example, let us suppose that you are against the exploitation of agricultural laborers. The people who pick the fruits and vegetables that fill our grocery stores and restaurant pantries often work in dangerous conditions for poor wages.

You might support improving those conditions and are in favor of paying workers more. However, you might also buy the less expensive options at the grocery store, and you may not have any knowledge of where the produce comes from or how it is picked.

Your participation in the system — buying less expensive produce — reinforces the economic pressures that lead to growers paying less to people picking their crops.

This is true for just about every issue, regardless of your political affiliation. If there is something in our society that you disagree with, and yet you are part of society and contribute to it, in greater or lesser degree you are complicit in that problematic behavior.

If you drive on the freeway, you are complicit in the way neighborhoods were broken up when they were constructed. If you vote for a political candidate because you like their policies, you are complicit with any negative act that politician participates in. If you use a social media platform to keep in touch with friends and family, you are complicit in the bad behavior the company does to gain an economic advantage.

This is not to say that you are solely responsible for these bad acts, but you cannot claim complete innocence, either. By participating in a corrupt system, you are partially corrupt yourself.

Can you think of ways that you are complicit in acts and behaviors you don’t like? Can you think of things that you might do change the system or yourself?

Related questions: What are our responsibilities to others? What do you do that you shouldn’t? What beliefs do you have that might be wrong? What is the greatest problem facing humanity? What are you doing to make the world a better place?