Saturday, July 27, 2013

Objective and Subjective Opinions and How to Deal With Them

Have you ever been given praise or a complement that didn't work for you?

It happens to me all the time. I usually get them from people who like my mop of curly hair. Seeing that all curly haired people want straight hair, and all straight haired people want curly hair, it never really moves me to be grateful when people like my hair.

Some people also get what I call a backhanded complement. This is something intended to SOUND like praise, yet feels more like an insult. ie: You are a beautiful woman for your size.

I find that instead of giving praise with a condition or an attachment, the praise should simply be the complement. In the above example, the ending, "for your size" simply does not need to be included. Beautiful people are beautiful regardless of circumstance.

Then I realized how objective these statements were, and the meaning we put on the judgement or opinion.

I thought, it only really matters to me what I think, not the opinion of what someone else thinks. For example, George Washington was legally a traitor until The United States won the war versus Great Britain. History now calls him a patriot, and one of the Founding Fathers of the USA.

But who is right? The answer is both.

The U.K. will still view Washington as not being loyal to the Crown, (which was true) and Americans view him as courageous and loyal to the possibility of creating the Freedom they now enjoy.

You could argue all day about who's opinion is right, yet we all know how that would end.

Back to the point about us.

Everybody has a subjective opinion, and it carries the same worth as what we arm its meaning with. If a small part of you believes it, it will elate/hurt you. Yet, the meaning of their statement lands with your own view of yourself.

I'm quite sure that if the Crown called George Washington a traitor, he would not have been hurt by it because his own conviction knew that he was a Patriot of the United States of America. I know this, because it would have been impossible for him to inspire and lead armies of men to victory if he looked at himself as a traitor.

So it lands and ends with ourselves. We are who we believe ourselves to be.

So be the person you want to be...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Trayvon Martin Case

Every so often, something becomes so newsworthy that it consumes blogs, TV shows, and the news. It is pasted all over the Internet, and the media fuels it so that it reaches viral exposure. It reaches this capacity because there is always a division of thought, belief system, or opinion.

Because we are all so intent on having our own belief system defended from this perceived threat, we get to have our say. If we don't get the reaction that we want, we feel the overpowering urge to lash out, make the other person wrong, convince them to our way of thinking, or even yell and attempt to dominate.

This has been going on for the entire existence of man.

I had a conversation with a friend I have known for 25 years the other day. As I can recall, him and I have never had a disagreement during this entire time. We have many similarities, and of course have our differences. He is black, I am white. He is tall, I am short. He is bald, and I have a full head of hair. However, these differences have never played into our respect for each other, until yesterday when we were talking about the Trayvon Martin case.

Suddenly, when I responded in a way that was not in agreement with his way of thinking, he lashed out, and our communication was altered to a hurtful and significant lashing out by him. Because I respected our friendship and knew it wasn't about me, I gave him space and apologized.

I did a lot of thinking that night.

I came up with a thought that I would like to share with you now, and I can see elements of how it would truly make a difference when faced with fear, or anger, or resentment.

I realized that I could post any thought of mine, and I would get agreement for it. With that same agreement, it would also attract disagreement and be deemed insulting to others.

Even the people who agreed with me on that topic would eventually find some belief or thought of mine that would insult them. It would only be a matter of time until it came out. Pick any belief, and you can get really defensive when it conflicts with yours.

I can attract 34 million Canadians and say that Canada is the greatest nation in the world. Hypothetically, the next statement I can say that only white people deserve to live here, and I would lose 15 million. Then I could say that only if you are Roman Catholic, and I don't want to include fat people. Then I could say that women are sub servant to men, and I would be down to maybe a few million. I could eliminate more uneducated people, or those who haven't travelled, or a million other reasons and soon, I have cut off everyone but me.

I am the only person in 7 billion who thinks like me. Am I the minority here? Shouldn't someone or something classify or stereotype me?

Yet, that's exactly how the media divides us.

Do we have racism, bigotry, hatred, resentment and intolerance in this real world of ours? Yes, of course we do. These are taught, and become belief systems. When fear overrides our ignorance, we react poorly.Yet, it's always how we react to it which determines the course of how it's going to go.

For most of us, it gets to the point when we realize that they don't share our opinion and then we make them wrong. We do this to ensure that our belief system doesn't feel threatened, and we get to be right.

And at the end of the day, our survival mechanism wants us to be right and true to our beliefs.

Now, Trayvon Martin is dead. It is always unfortunate when a young person dies in any manner. The details will not change, and it will not bring him back. This seems to be the day old argument of black vs white, and it may well have been.

To me, it has nothing to do with colour.

It has to do with fear, and that fear supplanted itself and manifested in both men as racism. Zimmerman was living from a place of hatred, fear, resentment, and defending his belief system of what he perceived Trayvon was representing to him. Because of Zimmerman's behaviour and how Trayvon perceived it, I can only imagine he became scared, resentful, angry, bitter and threatened.

Who among you does your best communicating when you are in one of those places?

Instead, what would have happened if an irate Zimmerman would have said, "Hey Nigger, what the F@ck are you doing here? Trying to rob some nice white folk?!"

Trayvon replies, "Sorry sir, I'm just coming back from the store, and I'm talking to my girlfriend on the phone. Is everything OK?"

Now, I know what some may think. Trayvon doesn't HAVE to take that shit from a scared shitless white man.

True, he doesn't.

But my point is, would he be alive today if he did?

Defending their own belief systems, they each acted out of fear and the result was one man died.

You can blame racism, the justice system, laws, guns, Americans, blacks, whites, the rain, hoodies, arrogance or anything else that you feel may be unjust to your view. Is it really going to matter to anyone but you?

We can learn that it's our behaviour that dictates our perception, and how we react that fuels that situation.

Unfortunately, that did not prevail in this instance.

If we are ready to stop defending the blackness or whiteness of the man, and look at what each did to fuel this, and stop being colour blind, we may be able to unattach ourselves from our own identity and react in a manner of communication, and not defensiveness.

We know the way of effective communication until it becomes confrontation to our own identity and unless we have the clarity to see that and not defend it, it controls us and not the other way around.

And that was certainly the case here, and it leaves us all divided in some way or another, and of course, that's exactly what the media wants...