You shouldn’t worry about trying to ‘fit in’ with your family
If you often feel like the ‘black sheep’ in your family, you may believe that no one knows how to empathise with your feelings or communicate with you on your level.
When it comes to relationships, communication is the key to happiness and feeling love
Developing communication skills and learning how to empathise with others is an important part of a child’s growth, and something you perfect and shape as you grow older. But if you feel the people in your family simply don’t ‘get’ you, then you’re probably searching for family acceptance.
Perhaps because of your ability to empathise with others, you were labelled or even shamed as ‘the sensitive one’ in the family.
But the definition isn’t as simple as it seems. Empathy is the ability to imagine or sense what another person may experience emotionally, physically, and/or mentally in a given situation; it’s an significant skill.
Why is empathy important?
Well, it’s human nature to expect and want others to act the way you do. But just as two people quite literally can’t stand in the same spot at the same time and see the same thing, your perceptions will differ.
Your family may not get you, understand you, love you in the way you desire, but that’s because they’re not you!
Your body and mind and emotions have a broad range of capacities… much like individual laptop computers which have specific configurations, operating systems, processors, chips, programs, etc.
When you love another person, you hope they will see the best in you, but it’s not always possible; sometimes it’s downright improbable
Not everyone has the “empathy chip” you do, or perhaps their empathy system is different from yours. Individuals within the same family can be so different, perhaps by design.
Whether they are family or not, you judge other people’s responses (or lack of response) based upon your own understanding.
Unfortunately, when you see others based on what you would do in that same situation, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and perhaps judging them from criteria they may never be able to attain.
Right now, grab your phone or a pad and jot down a couple of notes… take inventory of your personality strengths. Think of the qualities or aspects of self that you’re proud of.
For me, some of those qualities are being self-motivated, creative, honest, compassionate, sensitive, a “do what you say” kind of person… what are yours?
Now consider that the traits you cherish about yourself may actually be the filters through which you see and judge others.
When they don’t also have these same strengths, your judgment can be felt/received as demanding or bullying. This can cause a disconnect between you and others. That is until you realise you’re projecting your own sense of empathy onto others and feeling that they fall short when they don’t respond the same way you would.
So why is it important to be more empathetic to other people’s differing empathy responses?
Imagine your sister doesn’t have the same kind of empathy you do. As you continually expect her to be empathetic and sensitive, she feels that as rejection and disapproval. Ultimately, you’re expecting something beyond her current capacity.
From her perspective, she may have no concept of your feelings and see your empathy as oversensitivity or overreacting.
The bottom line in all of this is, everyone is seeking approval…
The most loving thing you can do for yourself and others is to accept their perspective where they’re standing and allow them to have different perspectives of you. Just realise you can be your own person without owning or even trying on their perspective and/or lack of acceptance. That acceptance can start with realising you are no better than the other!
When you feel you fall short and you think someone else is better than you, you are in an illusion and your communication skills will suffer.
Acceptance of the self is key, and it helps you stay grounded and less affected by lack of acceptance by others, particularly family. If you want to be accepted, sometimes it starts with accepting the other.
Personally, I have repeatedly felt rejected and not understood by my birth family. The family I’ve created, my husband and children, love and cherish me. My birth family, not so much. There is constantly a disconnect between who I think I am and who they see.
Are they wrong? Perhaps from where they stand, their wounds and perceptions, no. Perhaps they remember me from another time in my life and they are unable to be fully present. Perhaps I’m pressuring them to understand what they can’t?
Humans have a tendency to focus on the thing that isn’t working over what is working in your life.
Awareness of this situation brings about the power of change. Now that you see how much power you surrender in these instances, you’re able to say “no.”
You can reclaim your power and be the master of your emotions and take care of yourself without the need for acceptance.
Let the need for external acceptance go and work on developing better communication skills with those you feel don’t accept you. Apart from your family, you have dear friends who are your sisters and brothers by choice.
Stop wondering if something’s wrong with you. Accept that some people just won’t “get” you
Part of the power of being an adult is creating the life you want, and this can include an expanded definition of what family is and mean
You cannot make another person see you when their mind is made up otherwise. You cannot force someone to empathise with you in the same way you empathise with them. When you love another person, you hope they will see the best in you, but it’s not always possible; sometimes it’s down-right improbable.
Will things ever change? Maybe… but why put so much energy into something that isn’t pleasing by nature? Nurture the relationships that do work!
Above all else, be grateful when you see yourself. What others think of you doesn’t matter nor define you unless you adopt their view.
Be content to love those who reject you and release the need (or sense of duty) toward having a deeper relationship than they’re willing to nurture. Simply love them without so many expectations. Let go of what you imagined your relationship could be, and focus on communicating with them where they’re at now.
I have compassion for the pain you’ve experienced in these situations. But please consider that your misery is always a choice. Beyond this or that person, your birth family, this world, you’re loved and valued by source/the universe/all that is for exactly who you are.
There is an aspect of light and love that only you can share. When you are sad or hurt or _________ (whatever denser emotion), you’re not enjoying your life the way you should be.
Stop trying to fit in with people who don’t get you
Stop wondering if something’s wrong with you. Accept that some people just won’t “get” you. When they aren’t getting you, you’re likely not getting them, either, which means you’re not exercising the empathy you crave.
Watch yourself. See and drop your expectations when you’re waiting for compassion, empathy, or _________ (fill in the blank with your strengths listed above)!
As you move forward finding your joy, connect with brothers and sisters by choice. Be of service. Be love. But let go of the need for others to share it, agree with it, or embrace it. Give to give and receive in the giving.
Have compassion for those who reject you. Their rejection is likely more about them than it is about you. People who aren’t connected to themselves feel pain and often push that pain outward toward others.
When in doubt, defer to love
All is well; all is forgiven! If you continue to feel the need for external acceptance, there may be childhood wounding’s that you can identify and heal.
I see you; I accept you; I love you.
Kristi Borst is an integrative quantum healer and spiritual counselor. Her Perspective Reboot® messages and mind-body-spirit-emotions energy healing have been featured on Transformation Talk Radio and The Wellness Universe. Learn more about Kristi and in-person or distance healing at Healing Resonance online.
This article was first published on YourTango.