Today’s quotes obtained from Book of Famous Quotes.
If you have learned how to disagree without being disagreeable, then you have discovered the secrete of getting along — whether it be business, family relations, or life itself.
When you run into someone who is disagreeable to others, you may be sure he is uncomfortable with himself; the amount of pain we inflict upon others is directly proportional to the amount we feel within us.
Sidney J. Harris
I understand that many times people do not have the same opinions that I do. I recognize that opinions are difficult to express constructively, especially in writing. Writing often lacks “tone”, which can make words appear to mean one thing when they are actually supposed to convey a totally different meaning. I spend a lot of time reading and re-reading posts on several of the blogs I follow, just to make sure that I am not misunderstanding what people are saying. I then hesitate, many times, to make comments, for fear that what I am trying to convey will be lost or misinterpreted.
This month is “National Adoption Awareness Month”. As I understand it, the month was originally set aside to make the public aware of the many children whose first parents’ rights have been terminated and are in need of a stable, permanent family life. It has now taken on a life of its own and is used to advocate and glorify all adoption. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that adoption can be a wonderful thing. It can be a blessing for everyone involved. That is not saying that adoption is not painful. It is. It is based on loss. The loss of the very first relationship a human knows – the mother/child relationship. Sometimes it is also created through the loss caused by infertility on the part of the adoptive parents. For every family affected by adoption there is a different story.
Many of the blogs that I read are adoption related. I read them for support – to hear that other people are going through some of the same things that I am going through. I read them for education – how other families are coping with certain issues, how adult adoptees feel, how first mothers feel. I read them just for the joy of reading about children. But this month makes me tired. This seems to be the month where everyone weighs in with their opinion of adoption. But they don’t just weigh in, they attack. They attack like bullies on the school playground. Their very important messages get lost in the dust of name calling, accusations, and prejudices. I have found even the most even toned blogs become rancid during this month. It is not that I don’t think each person is entitled to their opinion. It is how that opinion is presented. These opinions do not foster dialogue, they do not provoke thought. In fact, the people who write don’t even have the common decency to own their own opinions. They state their opinions as fact. And while the writers have knowledge about their personal stories, they don’t have any knowledge of my story, or of my daughters’ stories. Yet they appear to feel they have the right to speak for or make judgments on everyone. And for that reason, I pity them. I used to try to understand. But I can’t even do that anymore. I pity them that they seem to carry so much pain that they can’t see anything else but their hurt. I pity them that they present themselves as having been so stunted in their emotional growth that they can’t begin to constructively work towards change. So many of them scream and drown each other out, they don’t or can’t hear the whispers of those who want to create lasting change in the adoption system.
So here are my guidelines for blogging – they are the same rules my husband and I have used for 20 years to communicate.
- Use “I” statements and be responsible for your own opinions and feelings.
- Don’t drag up things from the past. Talk about the present issue.
- Don’t make generalizations – speak only about that which you have personal knowledge.
- Don’t put words in someone’s mouth, and don’t assume what the other person is feeling/thinking.
- Refrain from name calling of any type.
- Stop talking long enough to listen.
- Listen twice – once with your head and once with your heart.
- Take a deep breath before starting to speak. If unable to speak softly and gently take another breath. Continue breathing until the words can whispered. Volume does not improve the listener’s comprehension.
- Remember that once the words are spoken/written, they are forever.
- Choose battles wisely.
- Remember that saying “I’m sorry” or “You are right” is a sign of strength, not of weakness. Humbly accepting those words is as difficult as saying them.
- Agreeing to disagree is not losing, it is acknowledging another person’s uniqueness and is an opportunity for honest dialogue without the competition of “winning”.
In this world of “rights” and “freedom of speech” it seems our society has forgotten how to be nice and play fair. We have become a group of people who believe our individual rights take precedence over that of anyone else. We no longer look for the common good. What I see are people saying or doing “something for the good of others” as an excuse to say or do hurtful things. What would happen if everyone took a minute and thought about what they would feel if what they wrote was directed back at themselves? Somehow I think the blogosphere might be a little kinder, with a lot less garbage floating around in it.