Substance Over Style

“I don’t like your style, so I’m not going to listen to what you have to say.”

Finding reason to dismiss what someone else has to say is, to me at least, an arrogant choice based in bogus entitlement.

Deciding that someone else has no standing to speak, has nothing valuable to offer, just because something they express rubs you the wrong way, is a dismissive defence of your own weak ideas.

What most people are saying when they reject the offerings of others based on style is that something is pushing their emotional buttons, making them uncomfortable.   They sense risk and find it easier to just dismiss the other person rather than risk engaging them.

5 ) The most painful thing about trans is not being able to give your gifts and have them accepted.

I know that if I want people to engage past their own discomfort, I have to be willing to engage what they have to say past my own discomfort.   I need to be able to unwire my own emotional buttons, get past my first negative response, and really work to hear what their message is, both what they say and the meaning behind what they say.

There are so many reasons that other people might offer what they have in a less than pleasant or elegant way.   They may be in pain, may expect rejection, may not have worked through their own emotions, may have different cultural traditions or have a million other reasons that their message isn’t packed in a way I consider nice.   Does that make their content any less human, less real, or less potent?   No, it does not.

To ask someone to establish their standing to speak before engaging what they offer is to try and maintain the status quo, to try and place convention over revelation.

To ask someone to establish their standing to speak before engaging what they offer is to try and place your comfort and ease above the attempt to build a bridge, make a connection, or create a shared view.

People are communicating all the time.   That doesn’t mean that they are always aware of what they are sharing, doesn’t mean that they want to be disclosing what they are.   Often when they reject things they reveal where they are defended, which reveals where they are unhealed and still hold pain.  They just don’t want to go there, so instead they work to silence others who challenge the worldview they want.

For me, engaging the substance of what people offer even when the style is off-putting is key to finding connection and to engaging where I need to be healing.

But yeah, it is hard.

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