Finding Empathy and Understanding in a World of Fear and Judgment
A couple of years ago, I had a candid and open conversation with one of my clients on my back patio. We agreed that everything in life felt so out of control at the time. People were feeling the fear mongering and the pressure to just listen to what everyone else was saying - and agree. We felt surrounded by bullies and deeply caved. It caused significant mental damage.
Unfortunately, this pressure hasn't faded... I've seen some horrific things come across my newsfeeds on social media and out of people's mouths. People are destroying others' livelihoods, jobs, and companies because they don't think the same way someone else does or they're not posting or saying the right thing. By continuing to be bullies, we aren't being any better than what has just been done to us.
What we really need to do is step back and take a moment for our brains to process information and formulate our own opinions. By researching and understanding our own thoughts and feelings about a situation, we put ourselves in a better position to communicate "our version/opinion" or even simply choose not to communicate.
Being aware and planning how we respond to others will ensure we make better decisions about what and how we communicate. Are there parts of our lives we are not actually thinking about? Are we viewing all the angles and trying to truly understand where someone else is coming from? How does that person's situation affect their response? How does your own situation affect your reaction to them? When did this internal conversation and reflection disappear? When did coming up with your own conclusions, taking the time to learn, and communicating appropriately become unconventional?
Many people are dealing with childhood trauma, abuse, abandonment, terrible relationships, cults, and family issues. So much of it becomes a part of our identity; it affects our feelings and our reactions, and thus our responses. Taking the time to reflect and understand where your feelings and reactions are coming from gives you the power to mentally shift, letting go of a belief you don't actually agree with and viewing the situation in a different light. You may be surprised about how different your response is after you've reflected versus just reacting. We need to collectively remove the keyboard warriors. It is incredibly damaging to all of us, including them. We need to learn how to love on people, we need to learn how to accept them and see them for where they're at, have open and honest conversations and not just sit on our high horse and judge. We need kindness.
So, that would be one of my challenges to you - have deep and kind conversations. Hear what people are saying and where it's coming from. Maybe they have totally different views and ideas, but by asking someone's thoughts, you gain an understanding of their position. It allows people to feel safe in their opinions and be more open about what they're truly wanting to say. So when you're talking to people and when you're reading their posts, be aware of what feelings might be behind it. A lot of what is going on is just fear. It's out of fear that people are responding and reacting the way that they are. So, take some time to actually hear the people in your life, and things will only get better.