They just don’t understand

They just don’t understand

This week we are talking about something I have struggled with throughout my life.  Because I have been relocating since 6 months old, I am never quite on the same wavelength as anyone around me, except my family.

Have you ever been trying to explain a concept or perhaps even more personal, how you feel about something and no matter what words you choose, you just can’t quite get the other person to understand.

Sometimes it is something we find a work around to, but many times especially when you are depending on someone else to acknowledge your pain or struggle and they don’t.  Even when they try to fake understanding, you know they don’t.

Our World Expands

This IS one of the challenges as we relocate and expand how we see the world.  With each relocation our knowledge of the world, the cultures and the people expand.  This then changes how we see the world.  By seeing more than we did before, that new viewpoint may lead us to be passionate about something that no one else gets.

Many times, you and I will experience it when we call back home for support.  Calling home to Mom or to our best friends sometimes ends in frustration because as we describe our challenge the quip off a solution, one perfect for back there, but is not possible or will not garner the same results here.  

Couple this with their desire to help and get us feeling better in the moment.  They are trying so hard, and yet, they do not understand.  When they cannot help solve the issue, they feel as helpless as we do.  We both experience disconnection.  

They cannot do what they have always done for us.  We can no longer collaborate on the practical day to day things.  Why?  Because they don’t understand.

They want to, but cannot.

Not the Last Straw

When this begins happening it can be devastating.  It was like that last thing we hold onto from our old life and now THAT is CHANGING too??  It is like the last straw.  But it doesn’t have to be.

Many times here what I am trying to do is to make you aware of things that will most likely be walked through after the boxes land.  I want to give you a heads up, so that even though it is only an intellectual concept, when you begin to walk through it you are not surprised.  This helps.

…if we expect it, we do not spend precious time fighting it…

One of my favorite sayings I use in Coaching is “Oh there you are”.  I use it specifically when unwanted things land at our door step or an expectation is missed.  I do this because if we expect it, we do not spend precious time fighting it, pretending it doesn’t exist and in this case walking away from a beloved friend.

Because we are not taught how to do this, many of us walk away from significant relationships just because we moved.  And it is logical, the change in the relationship becomes painful for us and them and our brains convince us that this is the only logical decision.  And yes, that pain stops…but now grief sets in, a different pain we get to walk through with that decision.

What does the change mean?

Many times, the reason we are in such initial pain is because of what we are making the change mean.  When we walk this road, we are not doing ourselves any favors.  We are looking for outs for the pain, we make circumstances mean things encourage us, one step at a time, to disconnect.

  • When we don’t talk every day anymore; we make it mean they have moved on.
  • When we find new friends; we make it mean we don’t need to put in the effort now.
  • When we feel sad getting off the phone; we make it mean that is proof that we need to end it.

Pain Narrows our Thinking

When we are in pain our brains want to do, whatever it takes to remove the pain.   This is because pain, especially with new things, can mean danger.  One of the primary human brain directives is self-preservation. This means that the brain is going to throw up as mean reasons as possible to make us step away, and stop the pain.

Pain narrows our thinking.  It narrows our ability to see options and make a solid decisions. We forget who we are and what we truly want in the long term in order to stop the pain.

And when we notice this frenzied singular thinking, It is time to pause.

Time to Pause

This pause can open up our eyes to other options…

Pausing is something else we practice quite a bit in coaching.

Noticing the narrowing in real time, allows us to see it as a cue if you will, to pause and take a bit of time.  This way we create space to be present and open as we make decisions, rather than continuing down the negative rabbit trail. 

This pause can open up our eyes to other options.  When we expect to find them, we find surprising options. We may not choose them but at least we see them and we are present as we face what is before us.

Changing what It Means

During this pause amazing things happen.  That automatic thinking stops and gives space for our pre-frontal cortex or decision making brain to take a turn.  When we engage with this side of the brain we can choose to make each thing mean something of our choosing.

What else could I make that mean?

  • When she doesn’t have time to talk every day; we could make it mean, she is doing something fun and we will have more to talk about next time.
  • When we find new friends; we make it mean, we are capable of having friends all over the country, if not the world.
  • When we feel sad getting off the phone; we make it mean, she is so special to me and this sadness is a reflection of how much she means to me.

A lot of times, we spend a great deal of energy on negative ideas we make up on our own minds.  Sure, we may call it an educated guess.  But the raw truth is, we do not know until we are told or witness it.


By holding strong to negative guessing, all we doing is worrying without cause…
and in the end, torturing ourselves.

As I tell my son, you are making up things either way.  You might as well make up something good.  This helps you stay present and clear in your day as it is.  There is nothing new to do until you actually know.

It’s OK They don’t Understand

Just like in the previous example, when “they don’t understand” our brains can naturally spin out on all the negative things it could mean.  From there the brain moves onto creating a story as to how grieved we should feel and all the reasons we should just end this.

We make “them not understanding” mean that friendships are ending, they are going to find friends to replace us, and that they do not care.

We take it personally, we turn inward to protect ourselves and kind of shut down.

If there is anything that is going to end a relationship fast,
it is being accusatory, turning inward and turning away from them.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  Sure, they have never walked this and the evening little league baseball games together are done, but it doesn’t mean anything until you decide it does.

Deciding It’s OK

One of the best things about our brains is that we don’t always work on autopilot.  We are not always working toward self-preservation and risk avoidance.  We have the other part of our brain, the pre-frontal cortex, which can take control of a circumstance like this and shift into whatever we want it to be.

In coaching we practice this a lot.  We spend so much time allowing the automatic brain to lead that we don’t remember, “Hey I do have a choice.”

It is how we were made, and it is about time we take advantage of it.


So, as this and other circumstances come up, consider the fact that you have the ability to choose how you are going to experience this.  It is not about making everything sunshine and unicorns.  But it is about exercising the control we have always had.

And NOW you know you have it too.

I am Annette Walters, the Chief ReloChampion for ReloWomen and I here to teach you how to walk through big life changes and create a life, the life you have always wanted to live on the other side.

If you connect with this and would like to learn more, click on the Let’s Chat button in the top right hand corner of the page.  Choose a day and time that works for you to set up a free mini-session with me.  I look forward to meeting you.

Have a wonderful week!


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