I have spent the entire day feeling seriously cheesed off.
I am annoyed with myself. I am tired, currently working nights and I spent my previous evening off attempting to engage in conversation with some people on facebook that had a different opinion to me – Yep – I chose that – instead of investing time in my real life relationship with my partner (in my defence – he was ill!)
This morning, whilst apologising to my partner, I was desperately trying to salvage something from the wasted evening – it is not wasted time if I learned something! Working through my feelings today I think I managed to find something positive from the exchanges.
I love good, healthy debate. I am lucky enough to have been able to surround myself with many lovely people, in real life and on facebook. Many of my friends do share similar views on life as me, and those that don’t share my views, which is fine with me, are capable of engaging in conversation, listening to my point of view, explaining their point of view and then walking away with respect for one another – saying – that’s ok – we don’t agree but it doesn’t mean we have to argue. I walk away from those conversations and tend to feel enlightened, reflective and open hearted. I might not have changed my mind but I have a deeper understanding of that person. I love learning others perspectives and having my mind opened to other ways of doing things.
I spend a lot of my life in my work supporting strong, capable and wonderful woman (and families) that sometimes feel out of their depth. Sometimes the families I support have a strong desire to do differently to something they are being advised or recommended. I spend a lot of time researching for them, looking for scientific evidence that backs up their gut instinct or sharing information with them. I support people to make informed choices, which sometimes means they choose to go against recommendations, protocols and guidelines.
I also spend a lot of my life trying to understand people, listening to people and empowering people. Investing time in building them up to believe in their abilities, trust their instinct and believe in themselves.
So when I get involved in a conversation with someone that responds in anger, or uses aggressive language or makes patronising suggestions finally shutting the conversation down with statements like ‘End of’ it really fucks me off. Human beings shut down if they are shouted at (in real life or on social media) We go into fight, flight or freeze, we stop learning whatever message it is that the other person is trying to explain.
Why do we share articles on our facebook pages? In my opinion it is to share our views on something and hope we might educate one another. If you are not sharing for that purpose and only want people to agree with your perspective and opinion then i’d suggest you don’t bother sharing. Your choice to share it may well mean someone that has a difference of opinion may decide to share that opinion and you could learn something about them. If someone has a different opinion and you would like them to consider your perspective or possibly change their mind you are not going to get them to do so by being defensive, aggressive and patronising. The only thing they are going to learn is not to discuss their difference of opinion with you on any topic.
As someone that understands human emotion, and recognises reactiveness – I realise that my difference of opinion triggered the other person emotionally and can remind myself that I am not responsible for another person’s feelings. I was sad that something that could have been a sharing of information, and understanding of one anothers opinion resulting in learning on both sides actually resulted in me learning not to share my opinion with that person any more – because I don’t want to be shouted at, shut down, disempowered or patronised.
But most of all I was reminded of the reason why I try not to shout at my children. I don’t want them to become the person that is incapable of having an open mind, disempowering others, shaming others, using aggressive behaviour or language to shut other people down. I want them to feel respected, to have strong opinions, be true to themselves, trust their instincts, be capable of listening and respecting others.
More importantly I was reminded of the best way to prevent them from learning!! If you don’t want someone to learn – try to teach them by shouting at them. I can guarantee you won’t succeed!