Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Who Doesn't "Get It?"

"They just don't get it!"

Ever thought or felt this? I have, and I've heard it many times from retreat participants and clients. Who are we talking about? Sometimes we're running commentary on the general populace but more often, if our level of frustration is high, we're talking about people in our lives- family, friends, co-workers. . . people whose choices impact our lives.

And what's the "it" that "they" are not getting?

Well, if the complaint is made with a wail of incredulity, it's often something about us- something we feel is important, something we feel we've been communicating consistently.

I work with a lot of people who have chronic illness, and I often hear, "They just don't get it!" in reference to the failure of other people to comprehend current physical limitations. At other times though, I've heard this same complaint about treasured values and ways of perceiving the world or living our lives.

Why don't "they" get it? Because it's not always easy to understand fully the experience of another. Because we say one thing ("I'm really am not able to attend a day-long event;" or "Doing art is central to my well-being;") and then do something else (show up at a day-long event; fill our time with everything but the art we say is critical.) Because people are more likely to believe our actions than our words.

Because we don't get it.

I'm not saying that if we really get and live by the conditions and values we recognize as our own that everyone else will. But most of the time, the reason the people who matter to us do not get what we say is true in our lives is because our behaviour does not match our words, because we are still internally quibbling or in denial about the thing we want others to grasp.

The good news is that every time I feel frustration about someone expecting or wanting me to do something that is just not a fit for me (after I think I have made that clear,) every time I think "S/he just doesn't get it!" I pause and consider: Is there something that I am resisting, some form of inner denial that renders my words hard to believe?

Maybe I don't really want to attend an event but think I "should" and so am using my physical limitations where they don't really apply. Maybe I keep doing what I say I can't and paying the cost later when I am alone. Can I give myself permission to live in alignment with what I know is true for me right now (re: preferences, values, choices, conditions, probable consequences etc.) without agreement from others (who are bound to have their own preferences, values, choices. . . .) ?

Most of the time, what I desperately want someone else to get about me and my life, is something I am just not getting, something I need to be with, facing whatever feelings the realities I don't want to get stirs in me.

So I offer a little prayer of gratitude for the other who didn't "get" what I thought I wanted them to "get." They point me to the places where I need to pay attention, need to be with what I just don't want to "get," hopefully with tenderness and mercy.

Oriah House (c) 2014


  1. That's an interesting take on it and one I need to consider in several avenues. Thank you. Blessings to you....

  2. Just thank you. Much needed insight for this gal's heart.