They Don’t Have to Understand {Mantra 24}

They don’t have to understand.

This is one of the hardest mantras for me to accept.

I really like to be understood.

When Jeff and I have a disagreement, I’m okay if he doesn’t agree with my opinion. But I really want him to understand what I’m saying.

But there are times when people won’t understand. Or won’t even try.

And although that hurts, I want to be less offended by it and not take it personally.

I’m still learning how to release this desire to be understood. I’m digging at the roots. I’m working with God on it.

I do realize it’s impossible to be understood by everybody all the time.

It’s impossible to even understand ourselves all the time.

So as I continue to practice this mantra, I want to remember this:

Not only do others not have to understand us all the time, we don’t even have to tell our side of the story every time.

We will be misunderstood. We will misunderstand others. This will happen again and again.

But if God understands us and we at least halfway understand ourselves, sometimes that can be enough for us. Maybe not always, but sometimes. 

And if we let it, not being understood can be an opportunity to grow in humility. I understand I need that. 


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You are on Day #24 of the series: Find Your Mantra {28 Daily Mantras}

Find Your Mantra: 28 Daily Mantras

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Whatever happens, we’ll handle it” {Mantra 23}

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Why do you ask?” {Mantra 25}

15 thoughts on “They Don’t Have to Understand {Mantra 24}

  1. Anita Ojeda

    Oh, I’m with you on this one! I want people to understand me (most likely because I want them to like me). And I always want to tell my side of the story and explain (often exhausting others in the process). This is a good mantra to remember!

  2. Jerralea

    I think there is a longing in everyone to be understood. But I think we might feel we should be understood ALL THE TIME and that’s just not possible.

    This is a novel thought: “we don’t even have to tell our side of the story every time!” I’m kind of guilty of thinking I should explain every time.

  3. Trudy

    This is a toughie for me, too, Lisa. Thank you for the reminder that God understands us! When I feel down and not understood by someone, I often have to remind myself of that immovable truth! Love and blessings of peace and hope to you!

  4. Lisa Blair

    Realizing others don’t have to understand was a big aha moment for me which actually released me into greater freedom. I became free to hear from the Spirit of God to share or not share with others because helping them to understand me was no longer the point.

  5. Linda Stoll

    ‘But if God understands us and we at least halfway understand ourselves, sometimes that can be enough …’

    Um, yes. Absolutely, friend. When we fully appreciate His heart toward us, everything and everyone else falls into their rightful place.

    I appreciate your tender words.

  6. Richella J Parham

    “Not only do others not have to understand us all the time, we don’t even have to tell our side of the story every time.” Such good words! Dallas Willard has helped me so much with this. . . but I have a long way to go. Thanks for the encouragement.

    And thanks for joining the Grace at Home party. I’m featuring you this week, Lisa–I so appreciate all that you share.

  7. Lisa C MacNaughton

    Hi LisaNotes, this is Lisa Mac.

    They DON’T have to understand. It immediately brought to mind a break-up with a guy that I really loved, and he loved me, but he clearly could not handle that I had a son with my husband (before we divorced.) And that could not be okay with me, for my son’s sake.

    He kept showing up, wanted to get back together, came to rmy workplace looking fantabulous, of course, so I’d hear about wonderful impression, and boy, did I.

    So, with the guidance of my therapist, it finally clicked. She summarized what I was doing by continuing to talk to him; she said: It’s like you’re asking him for permission to break up with him, and he’s never going to give it to you. It was sad. It was true. And he didn’t have to understand.

    Thank you-
    Lisa Mac

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      What a great example you share, Lisa Mac. I appreciate your vulnerability in explaining what “they don’t have to understand” looks like in real life. It’s a painful conclusion to come to–because we truly WANT people to understand for our sake as well as their own!–but we can’t always make it happen. And that has to be okay. I hope you’re doing well now.

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