Oh, to be misunderstood. And I know I’m not alone in this.
For years, what people thought I meant or took away from a comment was not the truth of my intention, and I couldn’t understand where the disconnect was. I later learned that the consensus was that some believed I was untouchable, unaffected by pressure or judgment. Even the fact that I exercised every day led some people to believe I couldn’t possibly be as spiritual as my husband if physicality was that important to me. While I didn’t exactly care about the judgment and occasional sideways glances when I wore shorts for a morning jog, it certainly got me thinking. And boy oh boy, did I think.
I thought: how odd for people to think I was superficial or vain because I liked to work out. After all, everything is body, mind, and spirit. I thought about how dismissive some were of Michael to imagine I had somehow duped him. I wondered what kind of miracle I’d have to perform to make the doubters believe that I was serious about my spiritual work. I imagined the ways I would need to express vulnerability in order to prove I wasn’t an impenetrable block of granite.
And then it clicked. I was thinking too much.
“If you say something to three people and then ask them what they heard you say, you will most likely get three different answers, none of which may even be correct. The reason for this is that most of us hear with our mind, and we interpret what we received through a filter of who we think we heard and what we think we heard. Today, take the time and decide to listen with your heart. You may even receive the message you were asking for.” – Karen Berg
There it was. There was a misalignment of heart and mind in the way I was communicating. That quote has stuck with me for years, and I’ve been slowly peeling away the layers of knowledge that lie within it. I think those words were a guide not just for listening but for the ways we project ourselves.
When our hearts and minds are misaligned, we find ourselves off-balance and misunderstood. The heart becomes overly emotional, or the mind forgets to check in with the heart. While this is poison when processing the words and actions of others, it is equally damaging to what we communicate about ourselves.
I believe in balance. Spend too much time strictly in your head, and the truth is lost in the mind’s attempts to justify or validate what you’re saying. That is the playground of the ego. Too much focus on the heart, and you’re unable to clearly articulate your truth as it invariably comes across as overly emotional.
Between partners, friends, and family, problems frequently arise not because we don’t know the other person well but because we don’t fully understand ourselves. If our ego has overpowered our emotions or our heart has overwhelmed our mind, we are primed to tell ourselves stories that affect our ability to express ourselves effectively. The only way to completely weed out the negativity of false thoughts about ourselves and retain positivity and truth is to channel those thoughts evenly through the mind and the heart, weighing them both logically and kindly.
Once you’ve created that balance and are able to clearly see yourself in all of your past, present, and future glory and pain, you will approach the world with a sincerity of purpose. You will have unlocked a floodgate of deliberate, investigated actions and words that are rooted in a place of self-understanding. You will still be on the receiving end of a lot of ire, and someone will inevitably flip you off in traffic, but if you can work to maintain the co-mingling of heart and mind, you will be your most genuine self.