How YOU Doin'?
Updated: Aug 22, 2022
I have been writing about what limitations there can be, for those of us that are descendants of American Slavery. My contention is that we, as African Americans, frequently don’t know how to prosper and thrive in American society.
While these deficiencies encompass such things as finance, etiquette, worldliness, etc. I dare say, familial bonds, relationships, and parenting, are quite high on the list…. I.M.H.O.
We can’t be expected to know how to interact interpersonally, maintain romantic relationships, or raise proper children, having been deprived of basic functional necessary life skills. Generationally.
How can I know how to raise children and care for a mate, if those very people were violently ripped away from us, consistently throughout our history, for more than 400 years?
But here’s my actual point.
African Americans are not the only souls in this country, that have no clue what they are doing wrong, when it comes to relationships and communication.
And by that I mean, NONE OF US seem to know what we are doing wrong, when it comes to maintaining personal relationships, and successfully using communication techniques to improve our lives.
A divorce rate of 45%, and lots of bad marriages that stay together – as a nation, our legacy of communicating successfully and caring deeply, needs examination.
I would say that the biggest pitfall we all face, is packing emotion into a space where intellect should reign. A likely reason for this – we don’t always have the proper and appropriate response ready, so that we frequently just say the first thing that comes to mind. And then we defend what we said. (If we answer someone without any forethought, acknowledge it. It indicates that we are aware we might be wrong. Adds a bit of grace and minimizes tension).
We also have human tendencies, that predispose us to…. argument. I’ve heard arguments where both people agree.
We like to argue so much, that even when we agree with each other, we argue with each other...!
What’s more, for some reason we may be inclined to want to ‘one-up’ each other. You know how that goes.
YOU - ‘I have one of those’.
ME - ‘Well I have two of those’.
Even though life is not a competition - we compete.
We’re not kind enough to each other. One need only travel any street in America, ride on public transport, or go to the supermarket, to hear the mean-spirited and thoughtless things we say to each other.
We talk to our children as if we hate them. We speak to other loved ones as if none of us have any feelings or consideration for one another.
And of course we all know that the current climate in America, unrelated to meteorology, is one of divisiveness and rancor.
I have recently learned how to cope with rancor. (What choice do we have?)
I ask the question, then I listen. Rather than defend my point, I will either, and alternately, have them tell me more about their opinion, OR, SUGGEST a varying viewpoint.
I no longer state or defend my opinions. Ideally. And I no longer invest, emotionally, in a conversation. If I wind up talking to you, it’s only so I can learn something.
Sometimes I do get upset, especially when an opinion contains little or no logic or research. People have a (huge) tendency to repeat the opinions of their (equally ill-informed) associates, rather than actually know themselves what they are talking about.
You know this is happening, when you ask a radical angry person why they feel the way they do, and they cannot explain the reasons, or elaborate on the opinion.
When someone doesn’t watch any news, and/or their opinions lack science-based information, I hit the disengage button. Politely.
I do not possess the need to engage in anger. That goes for strangers, and also in my personal and familial relationships.
We have to develop patience. Allow ourselves time to think things through. (Sometimes for me that takes years! No lie!)
Live in the love that we have for each other. Calm down and overlook those things that make people angry. Listen intently, to learn what we can from the other person.
Don’t challenge them and don’t disagree with them.
And I will tell you this. It is very very difficult, to ‘like’ someone after one of these rancorous convos.
I try very hard to search for and bask in, those things that we agree upon, that make us mutually happy.
It all takes time. One needs to value the person and the relationship, and take the time to consider, what points might have validity. (I guarantee that even the people that you despise, have something valid, somewhere, to say.)
Or, alternatively, one needs to care-not. I find it really easy to walk away (emotionally and/or physically) from argumentative knowledge-free people.
We have to overcome those things that, culturally, we have been plagued by.
Dysfunctional families and horrible histories aside, we are many of us missing the beauty of life, family, friends, and societal connections, because we get needlessly angry, and we are intolerant of one another.
That goes especially for our children. THEY KNOW NOTHING. They need the adults to be patient, loving, and caring.
“Because I said so!” is ruinously useless when guiding a child through life. (Take every moment you can to spend all the time with a child that they need from you. Answer every question they ask. No Excuses! Tell them your honest reaction to the things they say. Admit when you don’t know. Inspire them with big thoughts. Talk to them as if they were small adults. Tell them you love them as often as you can get it in).
From the African American perspective, as is usually my premise, we need to stop looking outwardly for someone to blame, and start looking inwardly, for someone to fix.
(If you have any interpersonal issues that you would like to discuss, you can contact me at CynthiaTruth100@gmail.com. I’m here to help).