If I thought that navigating my way through a pandemic was hard, then I was sure not expecting what came next. Racism, in a very BIG way, blew up last week. Wow!
I find that I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to act.
Here’s what I do know.
I know that I’m sorry if I’ve unintentionally hurt someone in the past. I know that I try to treat everyone with kindness but that sometimes I fail. I also know that I don’t have many of the answers to what we are feeling and experiencing in the United States right now.
All the feelings
I feel it all. The pain, the sorrow, the discomfort, the anger. It’s hard. It’s difficult to process and it’s confusing.
It’s okay to feel all of the feelings all at once. I’m human after all. To deny some of these feelings that I”m having would be to deny a part of myself. That won’t help this situation. In fact, it’s part of why we are where we are right now.
We’ve denied for too long many of these feelings. We push them down because they are uncomfortable and we would rather feel happiness and joy. We hide from the uncomfortable because it’s just plain easier.
It doesn’t work long term though.
It won’t help us move forward.
I don’t have the long-term answers or the solutions that will make it all better right away. I wish I could do that so that no one has to go through life feeling the pain that comes from racism. I can’t create instant change and I know that. We’ll have to go through the pain before we can come out the other side.
Really hear one another
What I do know is that we have to listen to one another. We have to not only listen but actually hear one another. This is the only way that we will begin to move forward again.
All to often, people will listen without really hearing one another and that is part of what got us to where we are today.
Have you ever been in a conversation where the other person has already decided on their response before you’ve even finished your first sentence? I’m sure you have because it happens ALL the time. We’re so eager to have our say that it doesn’t really matter what the other person has to say. We’ve already made up our minds and are ready to move forward.
I’m guilty of doing this, maybe a little less now then I used to do so, but it still happens. So, yes, we all do this.
When we’re doing this, we aren’t actively listening to the other person. We aren’t really hearing what they have to say because we just want to skip to the part where we override their opinion.
I’ve spent the last 5 years developing active listening skills. I now listen with my whole body. I pause before I respond more than I used to do. It’s completely changed many of my conversations. I find that people respond to me differently when I actively listen to them.
It’s also made me very aware when other people are not actively listening to me. It’s something that I find I crave. I want to be heard and I know that’s what most of us want. To be REALLY heard.
One thing to do now
So, while I don’t have any long-term answers or solutions to give you, I do have one simple suggestion to try. Actively listen to someone today. Really take in what they have to say. Hear them completely. You don’t have to agree with them, but by really listening to them, you just might find that you can come to understand them a bit better.
How do you do this?
Listen to them completely before you create your response. Pause. Take in what the other person is saying before you respond.
It’s that listening to and understanding each other that will begin to help us make the shifts that we need to make as a society. We have the chance to help one another heal, but we have to listen and hear one another first.
You can make a difference simply by really listening to and hearing someone!
Now, who will you actively listen to today? Who will get your undivided attention? Who will you understand just a bit more?
I challenge you to really hear someone today!
Love & Hugs to us all as we navigate these times!