Our Dialogue for Change
“We” (that ever powerful pronoun) are in a relationship together. One that embarks on a new awakening for much of the United States and starts a discussion among the more socially aware with those who are not. You and I are endeavoring to establish new ground rules to communicate in this new reality, and like any relationship the beginning should consist of expectation and level-setting.
I will commit to:
- Trusting you. You can assume positive intent in my words and actions. I will be vulnerable and lean into discomfort on this journey together. I will not practice or play the blame and shame game that is so counterproductive to our dialogue and will only cause a person to shut down.
- Respecting you. In understanding that your reality, and the nuances of that reality, may be multifaceted, I will not tell you how you should or shouldn’t feel. What I will do is hold space for you and your feelings, genuinely listening when I need to listen. I will respect your privacy and timetable, and know you will share when you are ready.
- Practicing empathy, compassion and support. This may require me to compromise at times and be flexible with my thinking. I will avoid comparing our feelings and pain, as that invalidates your pain or discomfort, causing you to shut down. I can’t have that, because if we want this relationship to work we both need to show up.
- Being present. To be truly present and practice openness, vulnerability is essential. It means embracing those tough feelings of shame and being aware when my defenses kick in so that I can move past them. Relationships include finding common interests. As we continue, I commit to also honoring the differences that make a difference. I cannot empower you to bring all of yourself and be present if I reduce or redact parts of you.
- Communicating. Let’s build understanding by asking questions, allowing for mistakes, and moving on. I will be open to your curiosity if you are open to mine. I will ask for what I need and set boundaries. Not every topic needs to be open for discussion, especially if it causes you pain. Let’s encourage the best versions of ourselves and promote self-love. No relationship can thrive on insecurities and darkness.
- Being passionate and fun! Not every discussion needs to be a part of a heavier worldly darkness. I need to also focus on the light. Attempts at humor may sometimes be a coping mechanism in uncomfortable situations. I will recognize those as such. I will bring passion for knowledge tempered with grace and good humor.
We are in a relationship, by choice or not. Let’s start our dialogue for change.