Of everything that I’ve learned, experienced, educated on, etc; nothing has taught me more than listening.
Listening requires disconnecting from your assumptions and biases.
Listening requires that you disconnect from what you think you know.
Listening requires that you are comfortable with the knowledge that you have biases.
The more “tech-savvy” we grow, the more we value quality of ‘hearing’ over quality of ‘listening.’
I get that. You are more likely to be graded or accessed based on how well you share what you know or what you have memorized than you are on your sincere listening skills. Few of us are accessed based upon what we actually listen to and not what we hear.
This thing where we “tell” fellow Black/Brown people what their lived experience has been up until now because they are a certain skin tone is very ‘dominant culture behavior’.
Dominant culture behavior is why so many of us have a difficult time with therapists who don’t share our culture, characteristics, our challenges. It’s when you people tell you something like
“all you have to do is”, or
“it’s just hair”,
“it can’t be that hard”,
“you have it easier”
“you wouldn’t have such a hard time if only you would just”
and on, and on….
Dominant culture type thinking plays out in a lot of ways:
Men make assumptions about women
People w/less health challenges make assumptions about people w/more
Young against poor
Privileged vs less privileged
One country vs another
Immigrant vs. natural born citizen
One hair type vs. another hair type
One body type vs another body type
One skin color vs another skin color
Even, One skin tone vs another skin tone
Despite the fact that we women haven’t been apart of the decision making dominant culture we can often behave this way ourselves:
When we “tell” other women how to live their own lives.
When we take away choices and decisions from other women because “all they have to do is”…..
When we assume that other women should be able to leave a violent relationship because that ought to be easy….
When we assume that if a child is touched or raped and assume that we know what parts “should” be easy for them because…..
When we decide that another woman’s life “should” have been easy because society throws down the red carpet for women “like her”……
The US just had a major election where more votes were cast than any previous election. People wanted their voices heard.
In the coming months, there will be a lot of people weighing in with a variety of facts, opinions, and “what we ought to do nows”.
As an individual, when there is conflict from within, if you want inner peace, you have to somehow tap into your own voice and thoughts. Journaling, counseling, advice, experts, books, meditation….
In a relationship, in order to heal conflict and division, you have to listen to one another in a more in-depth way.
As a country, we must do the same. We have to listen beyond our own experiences and assumptions.
No matter who you are, how much money you make, how many degrees you earn, or advice you sell; if you stop listening, you stop growing. And people can see it even if they never tell you about yourself.
People outside of cultures make assumptions based on what they’ve been taught and experienced. BUT, so do people within cultures. My personal belief is that knowledge of one’s culture is rich, healthy, and vital to survival. It is also important to remember that just because someone shares your cultural experiences and/or characteristics doesn’t mean that you “know” their story.
Autonomy is a *critical* part of a healthy relationship.
Autonomy: independence or freedom, as of the will or one’s actions (dictionary.com)
Autonomy: Uncoerced, making one’s own decision.
No one is entitled to intimate attention, affection, contact, or an intimate relationship with you.
Safety is a human right.