I remember when I was growing up saying they and them and being corrected. “No, you say he or she or her or him.” Today it is different. Today some people want to be called they or them. Personally, I am ok with that, however, my brain sometimes struggles with it. My brain struggles because of how I was trained as a kid.
Communication is challenging. Many of us want to be honoring to how people want to be addressed, it is challenging because of how we were trained. That is why it is vital we talk about it. Currently, we are struggling with so much. Listening and language are some of the biggest struggles we face. No one wants to be told they are not ok in who they feel they are, no matter what side they are on.
I talk a lot about the difference between being silenced and being silent. Being silenced is not a choice. It is when you are shut down in communicating. Being silent is when you assess the situation and decide to be quiet.
The question becomes how do we not silence each other in this? We have people who have been trained differently who are trying. We have people who feel hurt when called she when seen as a he. Then we have those who feel this is should not change. This now becomes a communication conflict and a possible barrier to relationships.
First I want to break apart the emotions in the communication. I believe we speak what is in our heart. We think with our heart, our heart has emotion, so our emotion is speaking in this situation. If we boil it down to it each one is saying either I don’t belong or how do I belong.
Isn’t interesting how language and identity work together regarding belonging.
I can hear people say, well some of these people don’t belong with each other or should be with each other, that is the voice of anger or not understand each other. That voice will silence and cause damage. We all live on the planet together. So how do we make this work?
Acknowledge. Acknowledging the struggle is a way of giving voice to what people are dealing with. It gives the individual a voice to the emotion they are feeling. To the one who was trained, you are giving voice to their frustration and fear, hearing their struggle. The one who was called by the wrong pronouns you are hearing their feelings hurt, his pain. The one who doesn’t feel things should change, for this article, we are going to assume they are older. Can you imagine what it would feel like if everything around you was changing? Wouldn’t you be terrified and afraid?
Acknowledge the struggle. It is challenging that you were corrected regarding pronouns and it has got to be hard to retrain your brain to adjust to learning how to reuse them now.
Acknowledge the struggle. It sounds like it really hurts you when someone calls you by the wrong pronouns. I am really sorry that has happened to you.
Acknowledge the struggle. Our world is changing from when you grew up. It has got to be a struggle to have things be so different. It must seem like a whole new world to you.
There is a lot of struggles with pronouns. As time continues, I hope we won’t struggle with this as much. As we acknowledge the difficulties people have, I hope we are able to break down walls and give people the ability to be able to use them easier.