Have you ever been misunderstood? Of course you have, we all have. When we are misunderstood, it doesn’t feel good. Our words can get twisted and people can take things the wrong way. When this happens we get a chance to respond. We have a choice: either we can become defensive or we can explain our side with grace.
The other day I was misunderstood: A woman emailed me about working with me. I explained that I was going on vacation and that if she requested to be alerted when I returned that I would do so. There is a form she needed to fill out. Well, when I returned she contacted me harshly saying she was going to work with someone else because I did not do what I said I was going to do. She thought I said I would contact her when I was home. I was very professional and explained about the form she needed to fill out. She argued with me saying that I do not put my business first. I explained what I actually said, and told her I am a woman of integrity and my word is my bond. She eventually, after several harsh emails, realized it was her wrongdoing and she apologized.
During these back and forth emails, even though I handled it well, I was not very happy.
It is very frustrating to be misunderstood.
It hurts when someone puts words in my mouth.
It is distasteful when someone questions my character.
But, how I ultimately handle it, is my responsibility.
You see, even though someone can have the best ethics, when they are misunderstood and they have a finger pointing at them, it is easy to throw those great character traits out the window and defend in an ugly way. I can honestly say that I was getting a little hot under my skin. When you have done no wrong, yet someone jumps to the wrong conclusion that you have done something questionable…that hurts.
It is hard, when under that kind of pressure, to stay true to your values when defending your character. I wanted to shout to her that she was wrong. I wanted to fight back as my adrenaline was pumping fiercely through my veins. But that would mean that I was stooping to her level, that I was compromising my values, and that I was not being true to who I am.
It was a great practice in maintaining my composure while being attacked, and I really thank her for that. After she apologized, I told her that I truly forgave her. It was a valuable experience for me. I was grateful for the experience. Have you been misunderstood? How have you handled it? Did the person get the best of you, or did you rise above and show self control and self respect?
Take Action: This week and moving forward, let’s take a deep breath and be true to our values when we are misunderstood. Let’s defend our position with grace instead of becoming defensive and ugly.
Because Together is Better,