I struggle. I’m human. I have my thoughts and reactions just like everyone else. At times, it can be really hard for me to separate how things are making me feel from the message I’m hearing.
I work hard to make sure that what I say provides space for people to have their own thoughts and opinions, whether they are the same or different from mine. That’s important to me. Everything I write, everything I say is designed with that purpose in mind. I try to avoid sharing too much of my own opinions, even though obviously I share some.
I have been struggling to know what to say as people have expressed how they feel about President Trump’s State of the Union address. As I strain to reach for my usual call for finding common ground and shared values, I feel discouraged and defeated. I’m at a loss. While I would like to express myself, I’m aware that I may stumble over my words. What if I’m wrong? What if I make a fool of myself?
So I’ve not said much. Naturally, when you don’t say much, well, you get to do a lot of listening.
As I’ve listened to people express their thoughts about events leading up to and following President Trump’s State of the Union address, I feel like there are things that people want to say, but don’t quite know how to say it. I would like to restate what I’ve been hearing people saying, regardless of the political parties they support.
Please acknowledge the points I’m trying to make. Please recognize what is important to me and why it’s important to me. Don’t excuse behavior. Don’t tell me it’s no big deal. Celebrate with me. Mourn with me. Respect me even though I don’t agree with you. See me as a person that is deserving of a seat at the table. Allow me a turn to express myself and what’s important to me.
And you know what, even though I might fundamentally agree with you, I am really struggling with how you’re delivering your message right now. It is a real challenge to sift through the things that bother me so that I can let the good things sink in. Can you give me a moment to be upset, to be offended, to pause before smiling?
We’re not robots. We’re not unfeeling creatures that can just accept the images placed before us and know exactly how to react. It might take a moment to digest, to understand, to sympathize and empathize with each other. I hope we can give each other permission to be human and to sometimes simply struggle.