Fix It: “I Feel Misunderstood”


“I am just misunderstood,” she says.  She has tears in her eyes.  Her pain has come out in anger again and she’s pushed away the people she loves the most.  Have they actually become afraid of her?  “I just want to be hugged and loved, but they don’t come near because they don’t know what to say.  “I’m sorry,” comes from her lips as it has several times before.  She means it.  She always means it, but hasn’t yet learned how to control the behaviors attached to such strong emotions.


Does this scenario sound familiar to you?

Do your actions often misrepresent what you truly feel inside?

You are not alone.


It can be so difficult having pent up feelings that you have held in for as long as possible, trying to keep them from coming out and hurting others, or trying to keep them from exposing your truth.  But they can only stay down for so long before something happens, sometimes not even so closely related to the matter at hand, that triggers a flare up of all of those things that you’ve been keeping inside.  Out they erupt like a volcano on whoever is “lucky” enough to be sacrificed for the wrongdoing committed by those before them.  They have no idea why you’re having such a huge response to something they think “isn’t a big deal,” and that only makes you more angry. It can make you feel alone.

The truth is, you are not alone.  So many of us feel that way; but remember, a characteristic of this experience is not knowing how to express it.  So those who feel this way, usually don’t know how to talk about it – so you often don’t know who it is.



Try something new the next time you recognize this phenomenon happening.

  • Notice what’s happening in your mind, body, breath – just observe for a moment.
  • Now use all 5 senses to take in the scene around you. Become fully present in the moment.
  • You’re giving yourself a moment; before saying or doing anything else.  Deepen your breathing.  Tune in with yourself.  Sit down if you can.  Just take it all in.  Focus on your breath.



  • Continuing to breathe deeply, ask yourself the important questions: “What is this situation reminding me of?  When have I felt like this before?”
  • You may be surprised what you come up with. You may see different faces, different times, and completely different situations than the one you are currently in.
  • Move forward from a more informed, fair, and balanced posture – in Wise Mind.


InnerRenovations Blog - Fix It "I Feel Misunderstood"



You have several options after this practice.

1. You may choose to express your emotions to someone who had the potential to trigger you (unbeknownst to them).  Except now when you deal with them, you’re able to stay focused on the issues you have specifically with that person rather than dragging any baggage from the past they have nothing to do with. It’ll help you stay fair in that relationship and not do any damage to something that you value and would prefer not to be affected by past negativity which you’re still trying to heal from.

2.  Through your meditative moment and exploration of where you’ve had those feelings before, you’ve gathered some intel. You can use it to communicate more effectively.  Don’t be afraid to share that in your conversation. Feel free to say, “this is reminding me of a time I felt like this before and I don’t like it.” This way, you’re a) being honest about your inner experience, b) owning it, and not blaming someone else for behaviors of another, and c) not taking your anger out on a person who doesn’t deserve it.

3.  It is possible after the self-awareness practice, you realize the strong emotions you are feeling actually have nothing to do with the people or situation your currently dealing with at all.  Yes, something happened and it triggered an emotion that reminded you of a time you felt that way before. But after further analysis you realized that the current situation is completely different and should not be generalized into the same category as your previous experiences – or it/they should at least be given the benefit of the doubt.  With this option, you decide to let your last step be the Self-Awareness Practice itself.  You go on and grow on, privately continuing your journey to a greater you.


No doubt, you will have a chance to use all of these methods at some point or another with as many opportunities as life affords us to regulate our emotions and manage stress.  Encourage yourself, feed your mind/body/spirit good food, and build confidence in your Personal Inner Renovations Project.

Creating Space for Better


Sometimes we’d like to have a fresh start, but it seems difficult when our environment isn’t so fresh.  Our ideas aren’t so fresh.  Our motivation isn’t so fresh.  It benefits us to identify things that are taking up space, so we can clear them out and make room for what’s new and more helpful to our lives.

Identify things that are taking up space, so we can clear them out and make room for what’s new and more helpful to our lives.

Ask yourself, what is it time to release?  When we put down the heavy weight of some of the baggage we’ve been carrying around, it’s amazing how much more energy we have to accomplish the tasks necessary to move us closer to our true purpose.  We often need to remove certain objects or even entire relationships from blocking our view of our purpose in the first place.  Most of the time, these aren’t easy decisions to make.  We become so emotionally involved in situations, and attached to our things, and certainly invested in our relationships – so making changes in these areas is no small matter.  If those circumstances can be improved, of course our first attempts are to try to improve the situation before completely removing the situation from our lives.  But chances are, by this point, you’ve already made several attempts to improve it and have ended up with the same results.  If this is the case, then it may be what we are referring to as the subject here of taking up space in your life, where something more positive and affirming could be.

Do a Quality Self-Check:

  • What relationships are enhancing versus harming your sense of wellbeing?
  • What thoughts patterns & beliefs are enhancing versus harming your sense of wellbeing?
  • What behaviors & habits are enhancing versus harming your sense of wellbeing?

Once you’ve identified which are helping you, do your best to honor those relationships, affirm those thoughts, and continue those positive behaviors.  When you identify the relationships, thought patterns, and behaviors that are unhelpful to you, this is what you want to remove from your life to create space for something new that brings you closer to the better quality of life you deserve to experience.



Quieting the Mind in Just a Moment

We overthink things. We can get so used to life being complicated, that even when it’s not, we’ll figure out a way to make it so. Today, let’s break that habit with a simple practice.

Invite your mind to settle down a few times a day. At first, it may not accept your invitation, because quite frankly, it’s not used to being asked to go somewhere quiet. It mistakenly thinks chaos and confusion are it’s natural environments, and that’s okay for now. It is a work in progress.

As you notice moments when it would be good to slow down by taking deep breaths, move more slowly, or just be still – mind will become more accustomed to this new space that’s being created within your days. You will breathe deeply, drawing your breath and awareness in, and your mind will meet you there. You can slow your body down, moving at a more gentle pace, navigating the moment with grace, as your mind can meet you in a more peaceful moment. This is possible for you. Practice, and make it so.

A few seconds, a minute, a moment may be all you have; and it is all you need.

Core Mindfulness Skills

There are one of two ways we can travel through Life:  absent-mindedly or mindfully.

We know by now the benefits of keeping ourselves focused in the moment and attentive to matters at hand.  Through mindful living, we reduce the mistakes we make, are better problem solvers, and can lean into life in a way that helps us experience it more fully.  There is no shortage of exercises readily available for us to learn and apply mindfulness in our daily lives.

There are one of two ways we can travel through life: absent-mindedly or mindfully.  This section introduces you to the skills contained in the Core Mindfulness module of DBT Skills Training.












No One Can Judge You

affirmation take-aways:

“I am free to be myself in any environment I please because I no longer accept judgment from others.”

“I do the best I can and no one is better at being me than I am.”

“My responsibility is to develop into who I am created to be, and only God can judge.”

Really, the only thing we can do is the best we can.  There will always be standards others are expecting us to live up to, rules we’re expected to follow, societal contributions we are to make, and responsibilities to keep.  Frankly, there’s not much we can do about that. If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent a good portion of your life going above and beyond the call of duty expecting to maybe one day be appreciated.  That may or may not happen – not if we’re waiting for others to show that appreciation, that is. And that’s okay.

The next portion of our life is spent doing what needs to be done because of our own standards, the expectations we set for ourselves, and the desire to live in accordance with God’s Word.  With maturity, we begin to move onto more reasonable ground where we understand more and more that the most important person that needs to appreciate us, is ourselves. We will work, but not into the ground.  We will be kind, but not walked over. We will give, but not be ripped off. We will trust, but not be naive. And by God, we will be a part of your life, but we will not be judged. 

Liberating, it is, to know that you can be a friend, employee, church member, spouse, colleague, and acquaintance, and be free to be yourself in any environment you please because you are no longer accepting judgment from others.  You are comfortable and confident entering gatherings where people may or may not know you, and you’re open to socializing with them because you no longer fear judgment of others. 

Imagine the difference it would make to finally be free of judgment by others.  More than we know this insidious fear keeps us from connecting with others and out of opportunities that could actually be fulfilling to us.  Be we often hold ourselves back, procrastinate, or don’t put our most confident foot forward because somewhere in the back of our minds we are dealing with a concern that we may come across in a way that causes us to be judged.

Really, the only thing we can do is the best we can.  And there is no one better at being ourselves than we ourselves. Our responsibility is to live fully, grow exponentially, and follow God’s instructions to develop into who we are created to be.  If we are all tending to our own problems, it leaves little time to dissect others’. When it is time to reflect on the value of our lives and whether we made the most of our experience here on Earth, rest assured, there is only One Judge.  Let’s be grateful it’s a Loving One.

The Mental Growth Spurt

I’ve noticed a theme in the last few months. Nothing fits.

I’m talking: clothes, shoes, positions, ideas, reactions, beliefs, relationships and more, have become ill-fitting.

Have you ever felt this way? Like you’ve outgrown many things in your Life?

Since you’ve begun your journey to Wholeness and Self-Awareness, you may notice that your newly unclouded mind is not so easily accepting things that no longer serve you.

  • What you once believed in with all your might, you’ve begun to question.
  • The people you had a great time with, are no longer in alignment with your needs.
  • The job you once hoped you’d get, has become a main source of stress.
  • And that relationship you thought you’d die without, no longer keeps your interest.
  • If any of those things seem close to the truth for you, YOU ARE OUTGROWING THIS STAGE OF LIFE. Trying to keep things as they are now is like putting on your once roomy jeans that now fit more like leggings and laying on the bed sucking in your stomach for dear life to force the button through the hole. Sure, you’ve got them on and probably look amazing on the outside. But inside, you’re cutting off your circulation praying for the end of the day where you can finally get out of them and feel your legs again.
  • Don’t force things to fit into your life when all signs point to – You’ve outgrown it.
  • As inconvenient as it may seem to find new jeans to fit in, more positive people to be around, new positions to search for, and getting to know the new you – it’s worth it.
  • You’ve been asking for change, and so it is. A part of that desire being fulfilled and those prayers being answered, is that you now allow the change to happen.
  • There’s a huge requirement to Let Go, just as the trees in Autumn are unafraid when their leaves begin to fall. You too can trust that things you needed before, are no longer necessary for what you will do and be in this next season.
  • Prepare for the stretch of your wings that free you from the confines of your once needed cocoon. Appreciate what has been and what has served you well in past. Release yourself from people and situations that are no longer contributing to your growth. Trust that you will have everything you need and more in this new season.
  • Be grateful for the things you’ve outgrown because they are indicators of how much you are growing.
  • Work Through Your Elephants


    Do you ever start projects and don’t finish them? There was such excitement in the beginning. The ideas were flowing and you felt that once you had all the pieces you needed, this would be your best project yet. But then something happens. Anything, really. And whatever it is, now feels like a barrier to being able to follow through on your plans. And so we have another unfinished project.

    Let’s discuss Ways to Follow Through without Overwhelming Yourself

    1. DO A SELF-INVENTORY. Before even starting the project, do an inventory of the strengths you already have that can be used in your plan. Then think about what skills you need and what it’s going to take to develop it.

    2. PACE YOURSELF. Don’t go full throttle just yet. Imagine the man running a 5K and he sprints the first mile, powering ahead and taking an impressive lead. Before he has a chance to be too proud of himself, he realizes he still has 2.1 miles to go and he’s already winded. You know what happens next – he’s no longer in the lead as one by one the runners who paced themselves started pulling in front of him. Not only did he come nowhere close to winning, he had exhausted himself so much in the beginning stages that he didn’t even finish the race. Disqualified by his own exhaustion. Moral of the story: don’t be that guy.

    3. RESPECT THE VISION BOARD. Not your thing? Make it your thing. Go old school with it and clip what appeals to you out of magazines, brochures, and any other material that can help you create a collage of your best life. Get your scissors, glue, and markers ready 3rd Grade Art Class style. (Glitter optional).

    4. TALK LESS, DO MORE. I talk to my clients about an interesting habit some people have to talk, brainstorm, philosophize, theorize, and conceptualists. Basically do everything accept for take real action. It makes them feel like they’re working on things when in reality they’ve just been thinking about working on things. The Visioning stage should be just that, a stage. Not a place where you get stuck in your mind for years instead of moving into action phase.

    5. BREAK THE ELEPHANT. Someone (I don’t remember who but they must have been wise) once asked me: What’s the best way to eat an elephant? To which I gave my thoughtful answer of: I don’t know, how. Unknown Wise Person replied: One bite at a time. I liked it. I liked it so much I started sharing that with my clients. Like it so much I’m writing about it. Break the big tasks into bite-size pieces. As great of a multi-tasker I’m sure you are, take a mindful approach and focus on one thing at a time. And speaking of breaks – have some.

    6. TAKE BREAKS. Not the eternal breaks where you step away from your project for awhile only to never return to it again. But legitimate breaks where you stop for a moment even before you get tired. You can take a pro-active approach to self-care. Go ahead and decide when and how long you’ll put things down to let yourself regroup and refresh, then back to it.

    I think the main key to completing projects is to keep working on them until they’re done. That’s right, there’s no mind-blowing formula to it, and you probably don’t need a weekend retreat to have that revelation. What you do need is stick-with-it-ness, self-motivation, and portion control as you work through your elephants.


    5 Ways to Outsmart Anger

    Everyone has their limits. The sweetest of us can be crossed. The question is, how do you handle it when you feel overwhelmed with anger? From this heated emotional state, anything can happen. From saying something you can’t take back, to having to restrain yourself from getting physical – if we let it get the best of us, Anger can sign checks that our sane self can’t cash. Maybe try this instead:

    1) VALIDATE. Acknowledge your emotions, and validate yourself. You have a right to feel however you feel (that doesn’t mean you have the right to do whatever you want to do). As simplistic as it may seem, sometimes just acknowledging your feelings is a way of tending to yourself and re-centering. Say within yourself, “I’m angry, I’m human, and that’s ok.” Just because you feel the anger doesn’t mean you have to act on it. Sit with your emotion until it subsides. It too shall pass.

    2) SHIFT. Core Beliefs are connected to Thoughts are connected to Feelings are connected to Behaviors. So if you want to change the way you feel, you can work on thinking of things that are life-giving to you. What makes you happy? What are you grateful for? What things have you accomplished that you’re proud of? Think on those things to shift the way you feel. To go the extra mile, see if you can connect with the core belief that was violated. We only get angry when someone crosses a boundary that violates what we believe. Gaining insight into that can help you shift your attention onto working with that core belief rather than rolling around in your anger.

    3) REMEMBER. Don’t forget that holding onto anger towards someone is like drinking poison yourself and then expecting them to die. The one who is harmed by your anger is you. Remember you love yourself too much to ruin your own day with anger. You’ve got a life to enjoy and don’t want to miss positive moments that are happening right in front of you because your mind is somewhere else pondering on negativity.

    4) BREATHE. It’s amazing what a deep breath can do. You may not be able to instantly stop the thoughts in your mind, but you sure can make strong suggestions to it by slowing down your breathing. Your deep breathing sends a message to your body that you are starting to relax. Your heart rate slows down, you get more oxygen to your brain to think more clearly, and you literally start getting a hold of yourself. Focus on your breathing and away from the anger. Say within yourself, “In this moment, I am safe, I’m aware, and I’m okay.” And keep right on breathing your way back to balance.

    5) LET IT GO. Do it for yourself. You can only carry so much. The weight of anger is more than you need to bear. Explore forgiveness. See if you can view the experience from an angle that helps you release it. Maybe you decide to use this as an opportunity to practice grace – the act of giving favor and making exception for someone that may not necessarily deserve it. Or maybe you decide to let your Exhale represent letting go of negativity. Every time you breathe out, you let go of feelings you don’t need anymore.

    Yes, there is righteous anger. Things that rightfully get a rise out of you and help you stand up for justice. But then there are other times when the anger is just not worth holding onto because it’s doing more damage than good. When you find yourself in that state try any one of these suggestions. If one isn’t effective in your situation, try another. Maybe you decide to move through them all. The very attempt and desire to engage in positive behaviors to improve your feelings can lead you out of a negative emotion and into a more peaceful place where you keep your power.

    Wishing You Peace & Personal Power,

    Chanel C. Bowen, LPC, LCAS, CSI, DCC

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