Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
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.
You can contact me at email@example.com.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
No tweets found.
Today is day six without a phone.
Besides for feeling slightly isolated, it’s not too bad.
I’ve been doing things that I know I would not be doing if my phone was sitting next to me, shiny screen beckoning.
Is anyone else alarmed by the way extended warranties are sold on just about anything and everything? It means one of two things – either someone has found a great way of getting consumers to part with more of their hard earned dollars or manufacturers have no faith in their own products. Neither of those options is particularly heartwarming.
As I described Gaon in a review in June 2001 (“In Search of Ancestors, Sculpture by Simon Gaon” at Yeshiva University Museum), his Bukharian Jewish roots are deeply embedded on both sides of his family, echoed in his early yeshiva education.
Let me begin by congratulating my dear machatunim, Soraya and Jay Nimaroff, on being the recipients of the Community Service Award at the Sderot Hesder Institutions 18th annual anniversary dinner.
Think of your issues this way: due to those different backgrounds, you have a “shovel” to deal with difficulties while he has a “spoon”.
Do you remember the good old days when kids were kids and there was never anything to worry about? Those days never really existed, but today there are issues kids worry about that weren’t issues for some adults. They include fear of bullying, natural disasters, divorce, and violence.
In Part I talked about celebrating 30 years of Regesh Family and Child Services providing services to children, teens and families. I shared the agency’s origin and the many lessons I have learned through this journey. As I mentioned, it is my hope that my experiences will add to your toolbox of life skills.
Unfortunately, a map of the Middle East with no mention of Israel is nothing new… It is surprising however, that the world’s largest publisher of children’s literature, Scholastic Books, has joined in this trend.
About six months ago my parents and I started discussing ideas for a mitzvah project in honor of my bat mitzvah. I wanted to do something unique that would be meaningful to me and also do something that my friends could participate in. Immediately I thought of an organization called Sharsheret.
“I’m disappointed that the agreement reached with Iran leaves our unfulfilled our ultimate objective: a complete dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program and related activities.
Southern NCSY will be holding a leadership training Shabbaton at the Young Israel of Bal Harbour December 6 and December 7. Rabbi Steven Weil, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, will be the special guest speaker.
Is there a beginning and an end to the universe? What role can medical breakthroughs play in conception or genetic engineering? Can science help us pinpoint the end of human life? Does the soul emanate from the brain or vice-versa?
Last month’s column sketched the myriad of social programs in which the Orthodox American communal worker and leader Adolphus S. Solomons (1826-1910) was involved. Adolphus married Rachel Seixas Phillips (1828-1881), a descendant of colonial patriot families and together they had eight daughters and a son.
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/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: