You’d think that these questions would never occur in the same space – but it’s something that is on my mind often. It seems someone is offended by every type of lifestyle, comment, and interaction. And there’s a reason that “you can’t please everyone” is a thing. But I’m starting to wonder – are we just too sensitive? Are we small porcupines that prickle at every offense? OR – are we not sensitive enough when we reach out to those around us? And, if we make ourselves so sensitive to those around us, will our conversations become so bland that, we’ll wonder why we bother saying anything?
I’ll start with my most recent example – I was pregnant. Not SUPER pregnant. But pregnant. I had someone ask me “When are you due?” and when I responded not until October, she said, “WHAT! I thought you would be due this month!” In this example, I feel justified in saying that maybe, just maybe, this woman wasn’t sensitive enough.
But let’s also be honest with ourselves – when pregnant (or even when not pregnant) sometimes we take things a little too personally. And I’m allowed to say this because I’m probably one of the worst offenders out there.
My husband will ask me to take out the trash. I’ll immediately throw up my defense walls, letting him know that, “I was just about to do it, geez!” (You’re probably thinking you wouldn’t want to be married to me now, but that’s okay everyone, I’m taken).
I think, what it comes down to, is pride. I’ll never forget an argument my husband and I were having. And let me intro this with a little background about myself: I’m a debater. I’ve competed, coached, and dedicated a lot of my life to heated discussion. I knew that any marriage of mine would be one of debate – and honestly, I needed it. I wanted someone to challenge me. What I didn’t realize is that even the best of intentions don’t lead to fair fighting.
So, there we were, arguing – and not all that kindly. I’m ashamed to admit that my daughter was crying because of it. And in the middle of the argument, I truly had an epiphany. “Is this worth it? Is my pride worth this? Is being right about some nuance worth what this fight has caused?” And I’ll give you a hint – it never was.
But why this post? Why write about pride and sensitivity? Because I think, that if we take a step back to give ourselves a chance to understand motivations of the person we are talking to, we might be able to support each other more, and if you’ve read my posts before, building a stronger community is something that is incredibly important to me. And, as we all know – parenting is tough. And the last thing we ever want to do is mess it up (which is why pride gets involved).
So, I introduce, 2 Rules to Avoid Sensitivity Problems:
- Ask yourself before you respond – am I saying this because it’s what I feel like everyone says? Or am I saying it because I actually think it? A perfect example: mom of two girls, gets asked if she wants her third one to be a boy. Half the time, I think our responses are so ingrained in us that we don’t even bother thinking about what we really want to know. Instead, we just say what everyone Maybe, if we take a moment to think how this question might be taken, how it might hurt, or impact the person we’re asking – we might come up with a better question.
- Ask yourself before you react – is the intent of this person to make me feel bad? I’m guessing that’s rarely the case. And if they aren’t actively trying to make you feel like a bloated pregnant whale, then give them some slack. If they are actively trying to make you feel like a bloated pregnant whale, you have my permission to react appropriately.