“We are peaceful people,” because we do not talk to each other when we are feeling angry (about something or somebody).
Instead we keep it (bottled) inside within us (causing our body blood pressures and the cost of running the Ministry of Health in the country both to rise). We do this, because, “should we not bottle it within, and let it out, then than talk through things, we are likely to end up ‘killing each other'”.
So, we keep quiet. Therefore we are a peaceful nation.
Have you heard of this phrase before?
Well … welcome to the world of non-generative conversations! This is the world of not understanding and learning to work with distinctions or differences that exist between us.
When we reach a certain age, we do not expect to stay in conversation. We expect to be heard rather than hear. Conjure images of persons watching you speak as they listen. This bodes well in most of our minds as we reach significant positions or age. We often relegate pictures of dialogue and being in conversations to women, young persons, inter-generational conversations, and perhaps spouses. But not the rest of us.
Discussions, Yes. Debates, Yes, Negotiation, Yes.
Dialogue? No. The buck stops there. That’s where we draw the line.
Men and women handle anger differently. Men seek that space to figure out by himself what he would need to do next. Women on the other find ways to close that space so she may express her feelings about her anger to someone who is willing to hear her, so that when she sees and feels she is being heard, she allows herself to release the pain enough to free up space within her to figure what she needs to do and so then becomes clearer what to do next.
But when women handle anger the way the men does and she’s not figuring out what to do, except to shut the world out from her, we are heading right into trouble. As a nation, there is a crisis. A personal as well as an identity crisis. A crisis brought on by not knowing what to do. Men become “lost” in this too as they are not hearing from their woman what is it that he needs to do differently and why so. As a result, both sides stay polarized in their positions. There is stuckness. The easy way out of such polarization is to shut out one’s world from the other.
But for a woman such an action is likely to work against her. It leads her to stay stuck in her hole. She possibly comes out of it, bitter as her emotions are not yet been given space and time to be heard and for her to feel she is understood by someone other than herself. This level of emotional validation is central to her personal well-beingness [this runs contrary to work spaces that advocate for professionalism or that emotional behaviors are discouraged or even frowned upon]. She may become distracted by life, even resorting to addictive tendencies (such as drinking or smoking), but she continues to stay unresolved internally. It is more likely to lead her to a meltdown one day or she may end up over-consuming to a point that now illnesses take over and ride out her life. Men however deal with such situations by living out their fantasy to be able to fly, disappear and reappear and zip in and out of realities as they see fit. They lose touch with the realities and families around them. Women, on the other hand, behave the ways of the men, either because that’s the behaviour they see of someone with whom they feel intimate with and look upon as their leader (be they the father, brother, boyfriend or husband) or do not have another female person or mentor in guiding them in the ways of the women that are emotionally (compared to physically) distinct from men.
But do we understand such distinctions exist between men and women or even just between ourselves? What is getting in the way of us understanding such differences?
And particularly when men do not participate in dialogue, they miss out on a whole side of the story that is not partial to their own points of view.
What about differences in the ways we view at issues? How would we handle them?