Awareness of Self: What is Unhealed?
About a week ago, I had a conversation with one of my friends that set me off. I was so angry about what happened to her that I was ready to defend her with all my fury. In these moments, I'm thankful for the ability to question my reaction or the hesitation to react right away because I wasn't always like this.
Immediate questions included, "is it my place to say something to the guilty party?" And, "I want to blow up on this fool, but should I wait until I calm down and intellectually go off?" Decisions, decisions… After a quick consultation with my unbiased partner and a few moments to calm down, I instinctively went back to my roots— effective communication and education.
After years of teaching argumentative writing , rhetoric, and why it's important to know, I've come to really believe in it. Composing an argumentative essay is like a lawyer preparing for court, an individual in a relationship getting ready to explain why they wronged their partner, or a child trying to sway their parents to let them stay home from school.
All of these situations require you to look at your own argument to see if it's sound, logical, and compelling. This action is vital because by critiquing your own thoughts and feelings from a devil's advocate perspective, you get in the habit of asking why. You'll begin to wonder why someone is able to provoke you and what unaddressed traumas have been acting as your own personal guidance counselor.
In this particular situation, I felt the need to protect because, of course, I love my friend and I would never she her harmed. However, there were situations where I've been wronged, left hanging, or placed in what feels like a helpless situation. My own traumas were mustering up my anger and working me into a frenzy until I intervened.
Simultaneously, you must consider what the other person is thinking in order to address their pain points, which requires concession, acknowledging their logic. That is, if you have any hopes of guiding them to your point. I've learned that the act of identifying with others in this way is simply empathy, which has a way of softening hearts and quelling anger.
I decided on a very long message to the "guilty party" and, let me tell you, I had visuals and everything. As I was writing, my tone went from assertive to informative and from informative to, essentially, emploring. Rereading the message, I see compassion, the desire to heal, and constructive behavior rather than additional destruction, which is what I would have resorted to initially.
The response I got was even more humbling because that person felt able to confide in me. And, yet again, I uncovered trauma, the inability to effectively channel emotions, the lack of tools to engage in effective communication. That ended up being a healthy conversation and a much needed reset button for all parties involved.
We all deserve peace, a healthy mind, and freedom from our traumas. One realization won't solve everything. But, we need to make it our job to stop, turn around, and look at the strings causing us to be a puppet. You might be at the stage where you can only turn around and look after you've already made a mess of a situation— that is okay. I repeat, that is okay because you're waking up. Not all of us jump right out of bed in the morning ready to take on the world. Personally, I need about 15 minutes and five alarms.
After a while, you might find that you get pissed off and you pause in the middle of an argument. You may even say to the other person, "yo, this isn't right. We can pick this conversation up later, but I need to think right now." At some point, someone might come for your throat and you simply take a deep breath and respond with compassion because what they are giving off can penetrate your peace. Just keep in mind that this is a process and whatever stage you're at is okay.