Webster’s Dictionary says to understand is, “To grasp the meaning of,” and/or, “To be thoroughly familiar with the character and propensities of.”
Today I realized the toll that a simple misunderstand (failure to grasp a meaning) could take on a relationship.
I am a girl who hates losing friendships. Conflict makes me feel like an 11-year-old homeschooler (which I was at one point in my life) who’s never seen anyone outside of the family disagree before.
Today, I was so close to completely changing the direction of a key friendship in my life because of two text messages that I read this morning.
After a series of unfortunate events, I ended up talking with this person about the mishap we shared. I was, quite thankfully, given the opportunity to explain everything. I wept.
And it wasn’t your normal, kind-of-sad-but-pretty cry that some people might imagine. No. It was more of a, look-no-one-in-the-eye-maybe-should-see-a-doctor (for-the-face-swelling) type of thing.
Thankfully, my friend is kind, gracious and understanding— the kind of friend that a person hopes to have when experiencing a look-no-one-in-the-eye-maybe-should-see-a-doctor (for-the-face-swelling) moment.
It was after my friend patiently listened to the whole story from my perspective that the hilarious part happened: it was all a joke. The text written this morning was, in fact, meant to make me smile rather than cry—despite the unlucky outcome.
Upon this realization, we laughed. After laughing, we had the opportunity to laugh some more. The laughter was followed by a lack of eye contact because I was half relieved, and half embarrassed that my friend had seen me lose it in such a vicious way five minutes earlier.
Misunderstandings, I believe, occur most often when someone chooses to believe the worst in another person.
When I woke up this morning and read those texts, there was a split second that I thought it could be a joke, as it was.
If I had just taken the inoffensive and true option I wouldn’t of been weeping in a Tahoe at noon today. I could of made my morning count for more than planning the disassembly of one of the sweetest and most lovely relationships that I have.
I tell you this because I want to urge you to see good in people. Look for it. Chase it down. Affirm others until they start to believe that they really are who you say they are. Brilliant. Innovated. Strong. Hilarious.
So often I find myself merely taking my roll. I become who the people around me think that I am. I can’t help it.
Around my mom this means I am the coolest, smartest, most talented and favorite of her four children (even thought she tells us all this same thing).
With my best friends, this means that anything I have to say is important enough to listen to and take time for.
With Michael, my oldest brother, I’m a comedian, a joy, punching bag and china doll all at the same time.
Thankfully, I have been surrounded by friends and family who see my good and have the unbelievable ability to keep seeing it.
The most important part is that they don’t only see the good, but sort through the bad to find it—and once found— they choose it.
Today, go outside, look someone in the eyes, and make them better. Just because you say they are.