A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.
Last week I wrote that what we say to others, and the way we say it, might evoke emotions in our listeners that may or may not be what we intend. It can also say more about us than we want to reveal. Thinking before we speak, especially to people who do not know us well and will therefore judge us by this first impression, is vital. Since we all bring our emotional history to everything we hear, it is so important to be sensitive to how others will hear and interpret what we say. But what responsibility do we have as listeners? Do we have an obligation to examine our reaction to words that inflame us and be introspective, instead of accusatory about our reactions?
In last week’s article, Sadie* was livid at Joyce’s* response to information she had forwarded to her. Instead of thanking her, Joyce just gave Sadie a job that would help Joyce stay on task. This made Sadie livid. She felt that Joyce saw her as a person with nothing but free time, someone to be ordered around at Joyce’s behest − an underling that could be asked to do the jobs that Joyce could not be bothered with, and certainly not her equal.
As Sadie and I talked, I discovered that Sadie had recently left her job and was now self- employed and worked from her home. Since this change, Sadie felt that people often saw her as a person who was not employed at all, and assumed she could often do what others with “regular” work hours could not. Since leaving her former job, she had often been bombarded with requests to volunteer and she thought she perceived resentment when she had to refuse. Sadie’s former job had given her public status, whereas her self- employment has left her without her past reputation or prominence. Could this have played into her reaction to Joyce’s statement?
We all bring our emotional history to every conversation. When we are talking to friends, we can often bypass minor comments that would set us off if made by someone we hardly know, or who we liked less. But when our sensitivities are ignited by others − especially people we barely know or possibly dislike, all the emotional baggage we carry explodes and translates into anger at what we think we have heard and what we think it says about us.
Though Joyce’s reaction to Sadie’s information may have been inappropriate, perhaps she was rushing about and doing several things at once. Perhaps she could not jot the date down and felt Sadie was just the type of person who would be nice enough to not mind helping her out, and whom she could rely on. What Sadie took as a personal attack on her schedule and status may have had nothing to do with Joyce’s perception of Sadie, and everything to do with Joyce’s own lack of efficiency and skills.
When we react strongly to what is being said to us, a signal needs to go off in our heads that tells us to withhold judgment of the speaker, and do some introspection instead. It is a tremendous opportunity for self-discovery. We can learn so much about ourselves when we examine the cause of our reaction. What is it about the statement that was just made that bothers us so much? What can we learn about ourselves, and our feelings of inadequacy that prompted such a strong, emotional response?
Is there something here we need to work on, to improve, or just need to accept about ourselves? Is our reaction based on reality or some long outdated value that is no longer relevant to this time in our lives? When we look inward instead of outward, we give ourselves the gift of potential personal growth that we so quickly expect of others and often ignore in ourselves.
Just as we need to be sensitive to the emotions of those to whom we are speaking, we must consider how the listener might react to what we are saying, because it may say a great deal about who we are. We also need to examine why we are reacting so strongly to what has been said to us. It will also go a long way presenting ourselves in a more positive light to those around us, because how we listen and react to what we hear, tells us − and everyone around us − a great deal about ourselves. It may even say much more about us than we’d like.
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The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.
Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.
She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.
Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!
Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.
While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.
I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.
Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.
Your husband seems to have experienced what we have described as the Ambivalent Attachment.
The goal of the crusade is to demonize and hurt Israel.
The JUMP program at Hebrew Academy was generously sponsored by Evelyn and Dr. Shmuel Katz.
When one is blind one learns to use Braille to read. When one cannot walk, a wheelchair gives mobility. Sign language allows a mute person to speak and ocular implants assist in hearing when one is deaf. These are all compensatory strategies that help a person function despite his disability. But compensatory strategies are not just for physical problems. Understanding our psychological weaknesses and setting up our lives to ensure that we are not tempted to repeat our past mistakes, is as necessary as any aid to the disabled.
Well spouses have often discovered that their friends and relatives, despite their closeness to the situation, often don’t realize the tremendous emotional impact living with chronic illness has on the family. With the best intentions, suggestions, ideas and criticism are offered, based on the non-experience of those with healthy families. Even when the good intentioned get a taste of the difficulties, it is sometimes not enough for them to then identify and understand what the family of the chronically ill must face on a constant basis.
Over the past two weeks I have shared letters from a therapist and a well spouse. Both of the letters gave personal insights into the process of losing hope, how we react when that happens and some ways of coping when test scores, diagnosis and just simple repetitive behavior indicate that change for the better is impossible.
I’ve read your last few articles on psycho-neurological testing (Oct.8-22) with interest. As a therapist who has counseled couples dealing with chronic illness, I’d like to give you another perspective.
Your articles on the Neuro-Psychological Testing were right on (October 8-22). My husband underwent testing twice and your articles explained it things exactly the way they were. Besides the test, we also tried therapy.
Very often when we can’t face our big hurts or big loses we focus on the little ones. We can discuss those. We can cry over the small loses, be angry at the smaller hurts even though it may look trite and sound ridiculous to others.
Over the last two weeks we have been discussing one way in which well spouses can determine whether behavior displayed by their ill partners is caused by their illness or is a way they have chosen to act. We have focused on Psycho-Neurological testing, what it can tell us, as well as its pros and cons.
Last week I discussed a question that haunts many well spouses: not knowing if the difficult and often inappropriate behavior frequently displayed by their partners are caused by the disease and therefore not-controllable, or if the behavior is a choice the spouse makes and can therefore be changed. This doubt can be the source of much frustration and many marital disagreements. One way of alleviating this doubt is by having a psycho- neurological work up done. But that path is not so simple.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/the-unstated-message-part-ii/2009/01/07/
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