When Misunderstanding Crashes the Party
You met Understanding, yes?
Do you recall when you first met?
It’s been some time ago.
Maybe when you were three months old and you finally understood when your mother said “Good morning little Jack” that you were Jack.
Whatever the case may be.
And you smiled like you never smiled before.
Welcome to Understanding.
It is magical.
You may not have understood, “Good morning little…”
That could have been just more gibberish which left you wondering if you were born in Ukraine.
But once you understood, Oh my.
That was just unbelievable.
As you grew older somewhere you received your first admonishment.
WTF was this?
Your big innocent kid-eyes looked up in bewilderment.
Welcome to your sibling.
I know, right?
How in the world did he get a name like that?
I don’t know. If you’re a parent the whole “find the right name for your kid” thing gets a bit extravagant, right?
Well, maybe they thought it was better than Moonbeam.
No matter. He’s in the family. And you need to understand his name because...well because he can cause trouble.
He doesn’t mean to.
But damn, he does.
See, Mis is a prefix. It means wrong.
Like Misspell. Or Mistake.
Misunderstanding gets confused and then confuses others.
Probably happened somewhere before birth. Maybe in the Fallopian Tubes. He thought it was YouTube.
Came out confused, you know?
So he’s all spinny and introduces wrongness into Understanding.
You know, the party's good. Music’s good. Horderve's are super tasty.
And then Misunderstanding butts in.
“You don’t understand what I’m saying,” you say tersely to your spouse.
“No, I think I understand you quite clearly. You are being stubborn and always want things your way.”
“No, you misunderstand what I’m saying!” you reply.
“That’s where you are wrong. You always try to be right, so it doesn’t matter what I say.”
He’s a lot like a teenager.
The truth is that almost all arguments and conflicts are really as a result of a misunderstanding.
I know that sounds like one of those over simplistic statements, but really, I’ve worked with thousands of couples and many just do not understand the hell Misunderstanding creates in a conversation.
They don’t take the time to find the mis- that got injected into understanding.
It’s like when you were in school and you used a pencil with an eraser. Pencil’s aren’t extinct yet, are they?
Anyway, you were writing and made a mistake and you clearly saw you did.
And ummmm...you erased it and corrected it, right?
But first you wrote what you were thinking.
See, you communicated. Down on paper.
Out came your thought.
You goofed on a word and erased it and did another “take.”
That’s where you get the word mistake.
But there’s the action of saying or doing the thing first.
Like an actor.
They say their lines and then they botch a line.
They made a mistake.
So, the director yells out, “Cut.” which is basically, erase.
And then, “Take two!”
Right. Do another take. Until what?
Until they get it right.
And then, “That’s a wrap.”
So this whole idea of making a mistake is simple.
If we consult my friends Merriam-Webster and you break the word apart you have mis = wrong and take = apprehend or understand.
So you have a wrong understanding.
But first you have Understanding.
The conversation is going along fine.
Just like you with your trusty #2 pencil writing your friend a letter.
And then there’s a mistake.
Right in the middle of this high-speed conversation train someone says something that probably should be erased. Or minimally go back and see if that’s really what you really meant.
I mean you don’t send the letter knowing you made an error. Or hopefully you don’t.
We all have sent texts that were completely misunderstood.
And I’m sure you’ve had your temperature go up a few degrees on misunderstood texts, yes?
Once Misunderstanding enters the conversation stream, things can get out of hand.
Emotions are flying like someone has ants in their pants.
Actually fire ants on steroids in some cases.
So, now you are now arguing and possibly yelling or getting madder than a hornet.
Where’s the Director yelling, “Cut??!”
There’s no one yelling “Cut!”
And the two of you do not have the sense to be the Director and stop this scene.
You’re both too caught up in the drama and your lines.
Well, now you’re most likely into who’s right and who’s wrong in this heated discussion.
Weird, isn’t it?
So now you’ve become divided.
How’d you get divided?
About twenty-seven minutes ago you two left the train station just fine.
Now, you cannot wait to get off this conversation train with thoughts like,
“Why in the hell did I ever marry you?”
You got divided because your sibling Misunderstanding injected a mis-understanding into the convo.
But instead of having a “do over,” couples continue to argue.
And often one or both stay on that train and ride it until someone decides to leave, slam a door, or sleep on the couch.
Did I say weird?
And when the Misunderstanding is at its peak, it often escalates into meanness.
How did you get from a pleasant conversation to meanness?
Because Misunderstanding spiked the Conversation Punch Bowl.
“What did you mean when you said my mother can be cynical as fuck?!”
That baby hit you like a bullet.
Your #2 pencil left a Fast and Furious skid that ripped the paper.
By the way...the average bullet travels at 2,500 feet per second but sound travels 1126 feet per second---about half the speed of the bullet.
So you would be hit by the bullet before you heard the gun fire.
Your spouse’s zinger hit you just like that.
You get hit by this zinger and in your head you’re thinking “WTF did you just say?” but...but...you continue to argue because this is a runaway train conversation with apparently no brakes.
You think the way to stop the train is to tell your spouse or colleague they are wrong. Or they have their head up their ass. Same thing.
Listen: Mis injects a wrong understanding. Which means if you are going along clickety clack down the train track of your conversation and there’s a wrong understanding, like the word you wrote and should have erased, what do you get?
Well if you wrote this letter to your friend and it said “Hi Susan, I hope you are being bigger in the sun today.”
You’d be like WTF?
I mean you can try to squeeze your brain cells to make it make sense.
But it doesn’t.
“...I hope you’re being bigger in the sun today?”
Something is wrong. And it will stick with you. You will put the letter down and come back to it.
“WTF did Cindy mean “being bigger in the sun?”
Mis steals the Understanding.
And now you become the thing itself.
YOU BECOME MISUNDERSTANDING.
If you examine this closely, you will see that you now “wear” what it is you did not understand.
Take a moment and look at this in your life and locate the last misunderstanding you had.
You know, where there was a “freeze out” with your spouse or friend and you didn’t talk the rest of the day. Or, you’re at home with your spouse or partner and you just kind of go about your business like they’re not even home.
That’s because both you and your spouse are infected with the Mis-virus.
And now the Mis-virus is running through your bloodstream.
Because you are being the thing itself.
And then because of the turmoil, you misassign the cause of it to your partner.
So this “divided” state of "not talking to each other," persists.
The truth is you are a walking miracle made up of Understanding.
It’s why Misunderstandings are so violent.
It’s completely the antithesis of who and what you are.
YOU HATE NOT GETTING IT.
WE ALL DO.
Understanding is the very essence of what you are.
And when the conversation is sailing along with Understanding and Mis + Understanding enters, truly, the train derails.
If you have ever taken a conversation gone bad and walked it back to where you were last doing well and then walked it forward, you will find the exact point where Misunderstanding spiked the Conversation Punch Bowl.
Yet couples become divided because of the violence of the misunderstanding, separate out, become cold or distant, and in a few days try to “patch things up.”
But Misunderstanding stole some of your elan vital.
It wreaked havoc on a bond that seemed impenetrable.
And yes, you go on with life.
But when the next Misunderstanding occurs?
Misunderstanding has this crazy piece of DNA that kept a blueprint and layout of your soul.
Ever notice this?
Your partner now knows how you fight.
So do you.
You remember the last misunderstanding and now you pull out those mental blueprints.
You’re loaded for bear.
You’re not taking those Ninja stars in the neck this time.
Fucking Punch Bowl Crazy!
This is Understanding completely derailed and hallucinating.
Your partner morphs from nice spouse to Cruella or Jack the Ripper.
You are so bent on getting the Mis out of your system you think only by targeting your partner, like spraying Raid on a roach, that the Mis will die. That the Mis will stop being a roach.
Misunderstandings do not die.
They have a long shelf life.
Consult any unresolved misunderstanding you have be it with your spouse, family member or friend, and you will see.
It’s still in your cupboard along with that can of Campbell’s Pea Soup from 1998.
So what do you do?
You have to go all Norton Anti-Virus on this thing.
I’m not kidding.
You have to take this Mis apart.
Listen: Have you ever had your spouse or partner say,
“You took what I said the wrong way?”
Took = past tense of take = Understand, remember?
You got the wrong understanding.
So instead of getting the correct understanding, you go through one of these “chilly” evenings when you come home from work.
That’s Mis + Understanding.
Understanding has been robbed.
And the culprit is loose in both of you.
Because it takes two to Understand.
Here’s the first thing to learn. And truly, this is often one of those “hard won” lessons.
It’s not like, “Sure, I’ll catch that Mis-virus next time I’m going postal on my spouse. No problema.”
No. Most people don’t feel the spiked punch until too late.
See, Misunderstanding carries with it if you will, the “gene” that continues the misunderstanding.
That is what a virus does. It’s mission is to spread until you have the “symptoms” of the flu.
So when Mis corrupts the conversation it’s as friggin’ crazy as traffic in China.
It is continuing its mission.
I know it sounds wild but again, inspect any conversation that escalated into an argument and notice how long that argument lasted.
Mis was in there pinging off every available trigger cell they could find.
It’s why lame-ass insensitive things get said in the heat of the conversation.
Mis just found ammo from your argument in 2007 and brought that forward.
“Oh, so now you’re going to bring my ex into this, is that right?!!!”
And of course any time you keep pinging off the past you whip up reality TV at its worst.
Your bodies might have well been taken over by aliens.
The stuff coming out of your mouths is off the charts.
First thing is you have to become aware that the bullet hit you even after you heard the gunfire.
People are so interested in proving themselves right and the other wrong they are like Johnny Cochran holding up that glove.
They are more interested in being right.
They forget about being responsible for Understanding.
The whole crux of a conversation is based on Understanding.
The entire building blocks of talking to another human being whether you’re talking to your kids, your spouse, or your boss is that at the end of it there is Understanding.
There is no other purpose.
If you are really good, you can Understand your spouse loves Soaps and you don’t, and it’s totally okay.
It’s called Understanding.
And inside that Understanding is another gene called “freedom.”
If your wife granted you beingness to watch your Football on Sunday and you granted her her Soaps, truly granted each other the freedom with Understanding, you will love your spouse and they will love you like there’s no tomorrow.
And you may think football is stupid or think soaps are a complete waste of time.
That is where the Mis can enter.
You just Understand.
It’s enormously freeing.
Ed: “Hey Roger, did your wife give you shit about coming out on a Sunday morning to play golf with us?”
Roger: “No, she didn’t Ed. My wife understands how important this is to me. We’ve had that conversation. We’re good. My wife loves me like nobody’s business.”
Ed: (turning red, nodding and walking way jabbering with his other golf buddies).
Ever since I was a kid Smokey the Bear proclaimed, “Only you can prevent forest fires.”
Smokey knew his shit.
If you don’t know how to play with matches you have a runaway forest fire train.
And it’s on you.
In your next conversation if you feel that argue gene escalating and your temperature rising, you most likely got hit.
Stop that train and check the passengers for mis + understanding.
And for the love of god, don't ever lose sight that this is someone you love or who is a friend you are talking to.
You being right has zero value in this relationship or friendship.
Understanding each other is the only freedom you should be interested in.
And let me tell you.
That freedom is worth stopping the train and sorting out the Mis.
Your spouse or friend will have nothing but admiration for you.
And you might just float out of your head because you saved both of you from derailing and having a long shelf life as aliens.
I offer a free 30 minute consultation over the phone to discuss any issues you have that you feel might be blocking your personal or business success.
There is no pitch. There is no sale. There is no obligation to do anything else. This is my way of letting you know what I do, and hopefully creating a long term relationship. Click on the link below if you would like a free consultation.
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