Week 4, and I'm back! I know exactly what you're thinking.
"Armani, you promised us you were here and fully invested in being consistent with posting. What happened?"
Life happened. It's been so much going on in the world, and trust me, my thoughts behind that are coming soon.
More importantly, I've still been quarantining and trying to stay home while staying woke for the culture. I think the entire country is shaken after the death of George Floyd. I've never seen the togetherness, the power, and the force behind a movement until I witnessed what I seen over this past month. Through all of that, I've tried to wrap my mind around what exactly is going in America. So many questions from:
- "Was looting a source of strength or a sign of weakness?"
- "Are peaceful protests really going to foster change?"
- "What does this mean for me and my future as an African-American FEMALE?"
- "Yes, black lives matter, but all lives matter. How do non-people of color feel right now? How do I interact with them?"
"Everything is opening back up, but is it really safe for me to go back outside?"
"I have to go protest. It's for the culture. THIS is history."
"Do the masks really work?"
"COVID-19 cases are higher than ever before, but it's summer time. I can't be stuck in the house . Ummm ..."
"School should definitely open back up. Online learning was a hassle, and being at home all day is boring AF ..."
01. The Distinction Between Listening vs. Hearing
(cont.) This is only the surface of some of the questions, conversations, and disagreements I've had over the past month. I'll admit, lately, listening has been the biggest challenge for me. I think the challenge spirals from my intuitiveness and impulsiveness. I get excited. I get anxious. I get angry. I get confused. I get - A LOT of things really fast. Not to mention I often forget what I want to say, so I just gotta' get it out lol, but that's besides the point. I get so caught up in my thoughts that I forget that another side exists.
I'm slowly understanding that listening is the most critical aspect of communication. It's easier said than done, granted. Honestly, what could I communicate if I can't "hear" WHAT the other person is saying. But then, this is where I ask myself, HOW can I really communicate if I can't "understand" what is being said.
My thoughts behind this - always ask yourself are you having a genuine conversation or trying to prove your point? My mother always asks, "Do you hear me, or are you listening to me?"
I don't think I've ever understood that question until now more than ever. I'm working on listening to understand, rather than to respond. I've come to the realization that everything happens for a reason. People think and have feelings for a reason. People don't interpret and react to situations out of spite; there is a reason for it. I tell myself this every time I get frustrated like, "Who would even think this? Are you dumb?.." I have to remind myself in every situation that people are entitled to their own thoughts and feelings FOR A REASON. Every reaction is intentional. This doesn't mean that my feelings and thoughts are invalid, because I have my personal reasons to think and feel a certain way as well. What I'm saying is ... communicate to understand each other rather than to explain why your perspective is more valid.
I imagine communication as two doors. It's normal to say that in a conversation one door opens to speak, and then it closes. The other door then opens to listen, then closes; the process continues. But that's never truly the case. What's happening in this situation is one door closes before the other opens. If something gets lost in translation, the other door is not open to clarify. Communication is an exchange of words and ideas; both doors must be open and receptive throughout the entire exchange in order to remain fully transactional and to gain understanding rather than an "amen" for a good point being made.
02. Don't criticize what you don't understand.
"You must understand a person in order to respect them. (Brandon Smith)"
Respecting someone's opinion is not a form of acceptance, but acknowledgement. Acknowledge that you hear them and that you're making an honest effort to listen. You don't have to agree with every thing someone says, but listen to them and understand their "why". Every statement doesn't require a response.
A lot of times we judge a person and their actions based off of a single interaction, when there are so many more experiences that have defined their thoughts and reactions today.
The biggest lesson I've learned in communicating with people is that some people just want to be heard. Aside from discussion and agreeing to disagree, there are a lot of people who aren't sure how to express themselves because they're afraid that they won't be understood. They're afraid of judgement and reaction. Some people just want an outlet to be able to uncover themselves and undress their thoughts unapologetically without being judged or told how to feel. Be able to listen. Be able to understand. Also, be able to be understood. Use your understanding as a determinant of how you deal with certain people. Some people will require more attention and energy that others when communicating, and some will require neither. That is okay.
Your responsibility is to be able to allow yourself the time, the interaction, and the experience to be able to learn how and who to deal with.
That's all for this week guys! PLEASE continue to stay home and wear your masks lol! I love you all, and thank you for reading! ❤️