Please, let me indulge you in three recent experiences I have had in regards to significant others & even friends responding to my own personal opinions in a conversation.
Scene 1: Ex-Boyfriend
*Cut to scene of us driving in his truck and talking about a very sensitive social issue ahem Black Lives Matter. He tells me his side of how he believes it’s not doing any good.
Me: Yeah, I can see how you can view it that way based off of your experiences (blah blah blah) Then I go on to tell my view and how I see it from growing up and until now.
Him: Emily, I get it that you’re trying to see my point of view, like you really try, but I just can’t with yours. Because you are just so wrong.
Me: lolz I didn’t say anything, I totally shut down.
Scene 2: Friend standing near me
*Cue scene of friends starting to talk about politics and I start to cringe.
Friend: This person says something about immigration and being pro building a wall.
Me: Well, here’s what I think…….
Friend: (he starts laughing) “Sorry, I just think it’s so funny when people think they’re right”
I’m a magnet for these conversations. Hold on, there is one more for good measure.
*Cut to scene of a person telling me about how they knew why I got assigned to live & work in South Carolina.
Him: Hey, I totally know why you were called to South Carolina
Me: Omg, why
Him: well, you were surrounded by poor, uneducated black people your whole entire life in Vegas and South Carolina was full of them.
Me: Did those awful words and beliefs just come out of your mouth.
Him: This isn’t an argument, I just know that’s why you are going there.
*I will not write down the words I said after this for they are not deemed appropriate for a G-rated audience. More like PG-13 words said and R rated words streaming through my brain.
Now now now, could I have handled these situations better? Of course. Everyone can and I am not perfect. And I am not sharing these stories to start conflict of opinions of:
“Emily, you should have stood up for yourself!! Give it back!”
“Emily, their point of view is right. Why are you exploiting these characters, whose names you didn’t even write or their social security numbers you didn’t even post along with it, and ruining their reputation?”
“Stop hanging out with people that say that to you. You need to find people that care about you.”
a) These were people that I do care about and had showed that they did care about me so, sorry Debbie I didn’t just choose people who didn’t want to hear my opinion and wanted to change it. It just happened. I lost my voice and didn’t feel worthy to use it.
Here’s my thing and here’s my schpeel or MY OPINION IF I MAY!! So crazy, I have an opinion and I am sharing it?! NEW YEAR NEW ME, LADIEZ. But seriously. If you really care about someone or getting to know someone, you have to be willing to really humble yourself and listen to the person NOT TO REPLY but to actually genuinely listen.
You need to listen because each person has different experiences in life that cultivate the way they view and develop certain beliefs.
You need to listen because GUESS WHAT!!!! You are not king or queen of the earth and are not all knowing with how to FIX THINGS. I hate to be the first to tell you that you are in fact, not God. I know, it’s hard to process.
I am saying all this genuinely because I feel like the reason no one can have dialogue today with one another, no matter how differing the opinions, is because no one is willing to do the tough, hard work of getting rid of the labels and actually getting to know the other person they are talking to for who they are. To know what their experiences have been and trying to view the world the way that they do.
People just listen to reply. They don’t listen to have empathy because they don’t humble themselves enough to have empathy for the person that has a differing opinion or outlook on life and how it should be lived.
And if you don’t have humility and aren’t willing to do the hard work of developing it, you can’t develop the empathy needed to actually LISTEN to the other human being across from you or online or from whatever article you are reading.
No one takes the time to take a step back and analyze what is being heard, to take it in and to love their neighbor.
You know why? Because it’s hard.
It’s hard to humble yourself, to have that belief that maybe JUST MAYBE, you could be wrong.
It’s hard to develop empathy for someone you disagree with because that pride just sucks you in and is so easy to act upon and be influenced by. The pride that says,
“I’m right. They’re wrong.”
“They’re so stupid, they don’t know what I know.”
“They’re blinded by their emotions.”
And so on and so on and so on.
A wise person once told me that anything worth EVERYTHING in life is actually really really hard to develop and to get.
Pride is easy. Humility is hard.
Seeing someone as a human being worthy of love and acceptance is harder to see instead of just immediately holding on to labels.
My dad once told my siblings and I that he loved us no matter what our beliefs and opinions are because “who knows, I could find out that I am wrong”.
That is humility.
That is truth.
My dad sees me for me and not for labels, stereotypes or whatever the heck it is.
My dad and mom try to see others as God would.
I have a voice. I have a voice that DESERVES to be heard, no matter how many times it is shut down, rebuked or shoved aside because I know that one day there are going to be people in my life that truly do care about me, no matter the differing opinions and beliefs, that will listen to listen and not listen to reply.
My challenge to everyone is to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong. It’s hard, but I know from experience that every humble voice is worth listening to.