Thursday, June 27, 2013

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Rule Is, There Are No Rules

Its alright.
This time it's just a slip, sliding down
our loose ends hang in ribbons
Some words have lost all meaning...
Like I'm sorry. Like I love you.
I always knew,
when it comes to you,
actions speak louder.
I know how these things work.
It's not my first time.
But you knew I felt for you.

Now here we are,
marionettes in the puppet show,
cut the bread,
pour the wine...
strings attached to a smile that's not mine.
But I always knew,
when it comes to you,
actions speak louder
actions speak louder
actions speak louder
actions speak...

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Thoughts on validating, negating, and sarcasm

Lately I've been thinking a lot about validation and negation, and how these two simple concepts affect our interactions with other people. Sometimes I get too focused on finding a solution, giving advice, or providing the "right" answer to other people's problems, and bogged down when that kind of advice doesn't stick. It goes back to something I wrote earlier. We are not called to fix each other, only to understand one another. While it is easier said than done, part of this is really examining what it is to speak and act from a space of love. What does love really look like, what does it mean? And how does feeling invalidated affect our feelings of being unloved?
Validation itself is pretty simple. You feel a certain way? Yes, you do. That simple act of speaking and being heard, of having your emotions recognized, says so much more than words of advice or superficial solutions. Sometimes problems don't always have to have answers. Validation says "I see you, your well being matters to me, I am here for you." And that might be all someone needs from you. In fact, it might be all any of us need from each other when we are upset. With our feeling recognized, we are brought closer to one another, and in the restorative calm true peace or compromise can be found.
I recently went on a family trip, and I got to thinking how parents have a tendency to regress their children back into a state of adolescence. As someone whose been out of the house for nearly 5 years, I am perfectly capable of caring for myself and tending to the responsibilities that I've taken on. And my parents know that. And yet, on the first day, I was asked if I had brought dog food for my dog on a long weekend. There was something so negating about this question, and for a split second it stopped me in my tracks. OF COURSE I BROUGHT DOG FOOD. The idea that I had somehow forgotten pegs me as someone who is perpetually irresponsible, forgetful, or not conscious of others' needs. Which is not me at all. Do they even know me? It brought up a well of emotions relative to my experience in their household. I can't remember quite how I responded...I think I just said yes.  But it got me thinking.
My parents have raised three very capable children to young adults...and one thing we have in common is we all tend to be extremely sarcastic when mom and dad are around. And I think this has to do with validation and negation. Sarcasm tend to be our response when our parents say something that is invalidating to our current state of independence. Like "Did you bring dog food?" actually sounds like "I am skeptical about your ability to take care of another life because I do not feel you are a capable adult." And that can be quite an insulting thing to say, and in fact, quite different from the intention of the question in the first place. A better question could be "Where is the dog food? I'd like to give the dog a snack." It relays the true intention without negating a person's sense of self-confidence. I think we respond with sarcasm because we are continually being negated, although unintentionally. Sarcasm can feel insulting, but it arises as a response to a statement or question was already perceived as insulting.
I think we have to become more aware of how our words, validating and negating, illicit reactions from one another. It is so important to communicate well with the people around you, and even subtle changes can bring each other closer, tear down walls, and relay our true intentions more clearly. If we don't, we are left doling out clever put-downs and sarcastic comments that aren't indicative of how we truly feel about each other. It's something we should all work on, and I believe that being conscious and validating can truly break down barriers and make people feel far more at ease with each other...and make for lasting, beneficial relationships :)