How thoughtful are you when it comes to other people or when it comes to your family? This can be a really hard skill set to master since we, as a society have become so self-absorbed. For the last couple of decades, we have raised some pretty selfish people as a nation and it is reflected in the ways that these younger generations treat other people. But wait, it is not only this young generation. Our society has adapted to this way of thinking and it permeates throughout almost all of us. If you really drill down to it, we all seem to want it our way and your way is just wrong. We don’t try to understand each other anymore because it is easier to stay within the confines of our small circles of friends and family. Even family members are no longer safe from this indiscriminate form of selfishness.
How can we repair this damage? If we don’t take some action soon, we will become even more isolated and insulated from things that really matter or at least used to matter. I think we should begin to really talk to each other. I know that this sounds so simplistic, but it is actually harder than you think. Most people are not employing good listening skills, but rather focusing on how they can take over the conversation. Think about it; someone is talking about an experience that they want to share with you. As they are telling you the details of their story, something that they are talking about brings forward a memory to you. It is really not related to their story but only by the mention of something that triggers you. Instead of hearing out their story, you proceed to interrupt their story regardless of whether they have even finished their thought, to jump in with yours! That is just one example of being selfish.
Some people will justify that interruption with being assertive and women have learned that skill set quite well. After all, it is what has gotten them ahead in their careers. Since more women are in corporate America, this skill set spreads out in to many directions. It’s your friends, your children’s teachers or coaches, your neighbors or anyone that you come into contact with. While we want to get ahead, we have learned to do the same things as men do; step down on those below instead of giving them a helping hand up.
While this many come across as anti-women or anti-millennial, it’s not and actually my hope is that it’s helpful in this discussion. Traditional roles have been reversed and in doing so, the family dynamic has been greatly affected. We have shown our children by either intentional or unintentional examples each and every day how to behave this way. We have shown our children how to be rude and selfish. We have shown our children how to emasculate others. And we have done this all in the quest for equality. It is important for us to recognize that things are changing and that they may not be necessarily changing for the better. This is imperative for millennials to grasp now or this will only get worse.
Both men and women have to learn how to treat each other and while some of the ways of the past were awful ways to demonstrate how to treat each other, some of them were not. It’s not just about us women. It’s about us humans. We have to work harder to understand and communicate with each other; and we have a lot of work to do.
So how do we begin to repair this? It starts with you! Be aware of how you are treating and thinking about others when you are interacting with them. Understand that both methods can be the right way as can both be wrong, but facts are facts. They are irrefutable, but you have to be able to prove them and they should be simple to prove! Maybe one side’s argument doesn’t have all of the facts and this is where we can fix the communication breakdown. Communicating without judgment is vital to the success of the conversations. Sometimes people just want to be heard. Stop when you have the urge to interrupt others with what’s on your mind. Take some time to realize that we all share this world and it’s in our best interest to at least try to get along with others.
What’s your take? Let’s talk about it and practice our listening skills! I can be found at 24910 Kuykendahl Rd., Tomball, TX 77375 and I’m here Monday through Saturday 10am to 7pm. Just ask for Gina!