The source of your need to express your discontent
Not that long ago, I asked the participants of our On The Matter of Race groups what they were expecting when they signed up to be a part of their first six-month journey. They had a lot of interesting reasons, but there was one in particular that caught me by absolute surprise. Quite a few of them shared that they were fully expecting me to yell at them throughout the journey. While I was stunned, I also had to laugh. My immediate response was “and you signed up anyway?”
This really made me think. For me, when I do my most honest work, I come from a place of love. You notice I said when I do my most honest work, I don’t always make the mark. That poses an important question for each of us.
Can you really come from a place of love if you are yelling at someone? Hmmmm…
Some would say absolutely, parents yell at their children out of love, we warn people out of love and sometimes we yell at them to do that. But is it really love or is it fear or anger or hurt? Is the message intended to be out of love, but the problem is with the choice of delivery?
Having grown up on the receiving end of a great deal of yelling “out of love ” I would say that for me, that part of the message was never received. There is much to be said about loving someone enough to be direct and honest with them so that there is less of a chance that they will misinterpret what you are saying. There is something more to be said about how we deliver it and our true motives behind doing so.
Now, let me just say this. One of the complications with this are cultural differences in tone and volume of voice and how they are heard cross-culturally. The other complication is the need of some folks to tone-police in order to keep other folks in line. So, please hear me when I say this in love, I am talking about searching ourselves for the truth behind why we are delivering the message and how we are choosing to deliver it.
Are you choosing to deliver the message out of love or with the intention to hurt or diminish someone? It often takes most of us a long time to confront even in love, because most of us are conflict averse. We run from it and let it build up to a place of high frustration, anger and near explosion. So, you really do have to search yourself to understand what your honest intention is around this message that you are delivering.
I am asking you to do that work, because it is worth the exploration. We are living in the age of commenting our first thoughts on social media, texts and even emails. None of these mediums encourage us to pause, investigate our intentions and then comment. As we prepare to engage in face-to-face conflicts, it can be easy to follow this same rule of just spitting it out without understanding why we need to say it.
I know it is not easy, but I think we can lessen it if we are honest with our why. Is it out of love for ourselves (wanting to be treated well) and the other person (seeing them as a human being capable of making mistakes)? In some instances, that’s hard, I’m thinking anytime the ism’s are involved and we are in pain because of it. I certainly don’t want to limit your choice to make your own decisions on a case-by-case basis.
What I do want to do though is to complicate your thinking and ask you to at least seek answers for yourself before you speak either verbally or in writing. Am I delivering this out of love or is there some other motive here? I don’t know how much longer we can continue to hurt each other in conflict in the ways in which we currently are.
Verbal and physical violence have become common ways of interacting with each other and it is hurting us all.
I am asking you to when you can, investigate your why and then ask yourself… how can I say this in love?
Yes, I am asking a lot, but I’m in the trenches with you.
We can do this. We have to. Are you willing to give it a try?