X - Much Better - Words Matter
X. – Much Better – Words Matter
When I interact substantively with others, I tend to feel either detached, or very present (and generally connected). When detached, I’m immune from my feelings interfering with my brain and soul. When present, often, when things feel personal (, even when not directly personal,) – I often “over-react”. Besides – my face showing affect (if that), usually I appear stoic. (It is scary to expose myself in what often feels like unsafe space.)
Words matter – in a variety of situations, for most people. The simple words: “Black Lives Matter” – are most important, and very positive for many Black People, as well as for those who care deeply about them. When a lot of white people hear these same words, they commonly “mean”:
– “I should be totally ashamed that I am a white person. I should always defer to every Black Person!”
Obviously, for such white people, these words seem horribly insulting and condescending.
In doing my political work, I try to consider the likely impact of my words upon those who hear them. When my words land badly, I try to consider how I can repair the resulting damage, particularly when it could potentially hurt or end our relationship.
When I feel emotionally distant and isolated, it is challenging to hear and feel any possible positive impact from others’ words.
Sometimes, I can be attracted by the perceptiveness and deep insights of others, while also feeling fear, anger, or sadness – that can go in opposite directions. Brilliance doesn’t necessarily mean that someone has a deep heart, or otherwise is showing me a meaningful (sliver of) spirit (of theirs). Sometimes – I can feel an amazement – at others – whether I can relate to their spirit, or instead feel a significant separation from them. For example: the artistry of a few people I know is incredible, though drastically different from how I am.
Other people bother me greatly – with their words, for a variety of reasons.
“George, I really admire the deep commitment you have to multiple causes” - can ring hollow, and I may not even appreciate the compliment. What I want(ed) to hear one noted time, was additional words to the aforementioned statement such as: “I’d like to do more than I’m doing. Could we talk about what I could do?”
I can feel deeply offended. A demonstration of privilege, without a commitment to trying one’s best to help build a better world for others – distant from our world(s), is offensive to me. Usually, the other person won’t know – how I felt about what they’ve said. At times, I should risk my connection, by noting to them how I feel about what they have said.
I’m not scared of offending people, sometimes having a greater impact than I’ve intended. At the same time, I do hesitate in such areas some of the time.
Where I really want to do better in such areas, there are several common themes. Often, I jump to (negative) conclusions far too quickly. In such cases, I should be more curious, and less focused upon reacting to words that have bothered me. In general, it is often better to open up potential dialog, by being inquisitive, and avoiding judgment as much as I can.
It also is important to try to build connection more frequently, and to trust that over time such connections will result in deeper meaning, and in significant personal growth.
I want to be in less of a hurry. Patience can have multiple potentially positive outcomes. In a few instances, I may “waste” some of my time. I should accept this, when it happens, without resentment of the other person, or myself.
Where – I find connection – through listening, really listening, the outcome(s) may be amazing! I’m learning – to appreciate such connections, no matter how long or short they may be with my friend or acquaintance. Quality, not quantity is most important for me.
The trickier – relationship – are the ones that are deeply entwined in my life. Relating to relatives, and relatives of my relatives, are both “chosen” by me, and a result of life choices I make. One relative told me that they had no interest in seeing me, and others have said that they were too busy to see me. I have chosen – with several of them – to presume, until shown the contrary, that they will no longer be a part of my life at all.
I am learning, sometimes the hard way, how to build and repair – from what I say, and don’t say to others. I often doubt myself in the moment, or am simply out of sorts, unrelated to my ties to the other person. In such situations, I often feel then that it is important that the other person understand at a deep level something that I want to share with them. Paradoxically then I often use far, far too many words, perplexing, annoying and/or boring the other perso!n.
Moving ahead now is much different from how it was earlier in my life. Feeling that I desire connection and meaning is far different from being on a distant island, emotionally totally separate from others. It is different facing challenges openly, accepting where I err in part, or even totally goof up, rather than staying isolated, stuck in the separation. The challenges are well worth it.
The hard part is feeling a deep, lasting pain – that feels – impossible – to avoid – necessary, but highly Undesirable.
I am trying. I am doing better. My words are often helpful. Others need not appreciate my words, for them to be what I want to say – how I want to be – who I want to be, and to become more of.
I deeply regret my past Significant Failures! I am thankful at the opportunities I have today. Most of the time, life feels much, much, much more meaningful. Even when I feel down, I know that life is good – I’m lucky – and grateful!