Do you maybe know this rule saying that if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all? Lately I’ve been seeing this pretty often and, like some of you might guess, I don’t like it a lot. I have this question immediately: what’s nice and what’s not? Being nice in the sense of support everything that another person says with smile on my face even when I have a completely different opinion? Being false and pretending a lifelong support and agreeing for everything even when I feel that everything is against my beliefs? Writing that someone looks great even when in a reality I’d prefer to turn my head away? If this rule I mentioned at the beginning means being like this then I’m sorry, not for me.
I’m a member of some group on Facebook that has around 3.000 women mostly from the USA but also from Canada and Australia (if it changes anything, I don’t know). They post about pretty much everything – kids, their husbands, their parents, themselves, etc. The group is closed so I’m not going to give you any specific examples but I’ll talk in general and I hope it’ll be enough. I think that if someone posts anything on the Internet – even in this closed group but with so many people! – he/she needs to be aware of the fact that not everyone will have a positive reaction to something. What women expect there is some support. I completely understand and support that. What I don’t understand are their expectations that they’ll always get comments that will confirm how great they are and how perfect is what they do. You know what I mean? For example, one woman posts something and she asks “do you think I do the right thing?” In this question there’s this hidden message saying: say yet and if you think differently then don’t say anything. If someone else comments that she sees why that woman is doing that and she understands her motives but at the same time she’d do something different and she says how she’d act, she gets attacked that she’s rude, judgmental and she insults others so she should be quiet. Honestly, I sometimes *facepalm* and then I feel so helpless out there. And I fight there with that, I say I have the right to have a different opinion and I also have the right to say it in a respectful way if I have some strong opinion about something and I don’t want to ignore it. I don’t ignore it, I say what I think but remembering about the other person at the same time.
I really think that two people can have a good relationship and like each other even when they have extremely different opinion about something. If it comes to a romantic kind of relationship then there are some limits I think, like, one person wants to have a baby very much and his partner doesn’t. What’s important to reach an understanding is that those two people don’t insult each other but respect their different minds and can express their own feelings and stuff in a way that won’t cross other people’s boundaries. It’s hard to do sometimes, right? To be honest, it happens to me that something annoys me enough to have this urge to say what I think without any thoughts about it. But I don’t do it because I know that it won’t do anything good because this person will feel attacked and will start defending himself, probably in the same way which means by attacking me. And this kills communication. I’d stop for a moment and think what I really mean and what irritates me so much, what causes me a problem. I also think that telling someone “you’re not right” is sending some kind of a hidden message that this person is less smart, has low knowledge and I am the one who knows the best and so others have to change their opinions…
I used to be the same way some time ago that I’d argue with no sense in it. Let’s say that I said something and someone commented in his own way and I didn’t agree. I’d push aside what this person said and I’d start to defend what I said and now I think it’s lack of respect. And you know who showed me the other side? Nathan of course. Only with him I understood that two people with different minds can create a relationship and live normally with no fights, when they accept that they’re different and they really don’t have to agree with each other all the time. What, to be completely honest, doesn’t come easily sometimes 😉 But it’s worth to put some effort in it, for real.
And it’s the same with kids! I couldn’t leave this, you know me. First example: a mother puts a plate with ready food in front of her kid without asking what this kid would eat beforehand. She cooked what she wanted having this expectation that her son/daughter will eat the same… “just because”. And this little human has the right to say that he doesn’t want to eat that, he’s not in a mood for this and prefers something different. This is one of the examples for having different opinions that kids aren’t allowed to usually and so this mother will probably threat her child that he won’t get a dessert or won’t go from the table until his food is eaten. And this is such a trivial thing! Something extremely easy to solve and find a solution that will work for both of them. Imagine what would happen if, for example, a father who’s against tattoos with his whole heart would do if his 18 year old daughter came back home with a tattoo covering her whole arm. Would he kick her out because of it? Even though she’s of age and she’s fully allowed to decide about her own body just because her father wouldn’t get tattooed? Has any of you had any experiences like that? I’m curious. My father didn’t know when I got my first tattoo and when he saw it, he said I was stupid and ignored it afterwards so I don’t have any trauma 😉
So what to do? – you might ask. It’s not that easy if we really have strong opinions about something and it’s difficult for us to listen to someone on the other side and I realize that fully. Especially if it comes to controversial subjects like abortion, vegan or homosexuality because most of us already have strong views about them, let’s face it. I still have some problems with a few things and I sometimes get irritated when I read some things from a “caregiver-child” category. I’m working on it though because I see great effects. And I realize that some might feel attacked by me sometimes but this is never my intention so I won’t apologize for this. My proposal is to say, for example: okay, so YOU believe that an irreligious person is worse than a religious one and that everyone should believe! or so you think that hitting a child from time to time is fine and it teaches them some discipline, otherwise they’ll have problems in the future! A person with this opinion will feel understood and accepted, he’ll probably say something like “yes!” I think that I don’t lose anything acknowledging that even though I don’t agree with those things, especially because at the beginning I said a word “you” and it makes this person understand that I just acknowledge what he said but it doesn’t mean I think the same. After this there’s room for me to express my feelings about that and, hopefully, this person will treat me the same way. (More about that in posts you’ll find links to at the end of this one.) If he responds that I’m stupid or something like that, I’d finish this conversation. Because you obviously don’t have to force yourself to listen to the other person! If I don’t feel like talking to someone, I say it out loud because if I forced myself then it wouldn’t end well to anyone.
And it’s the same about comments on my blog. I always invite you to share your opinions and I respect all of them as long as I’m not offended and being called and ignorant kid or an idiot 🙂 So feel free to write what you think and how you handle this kind of situations I talked about, I’m very curious.
I thought I’d write over a dozen sentences but I started writing and I just went with it… But you know what’s the plus of it? You have something to read! 😀
Talk to you next time!
Active listening – what it is exactly – explanation, details and examples for “roadblocks”. part 2 (This post didn’t copy from my old blog in a very good way but I hope it won’t disturb your reading.)
* I downloaded the picture for this post from Google images.
* All the examples in this post are completely random and I’m not provoking anyone.