As I mentioned last week, over the last year or so my posts have been developing on a theme. The theme was first mentioned in one of my Gifts of Infertility series, where I talked about developing Compassion and Empathy.
So now, when I talk often about how thinking about my own situation, and about hurtful comments or attitudes towards me because I do not have children, I realise that this process has helped me better understand others. It has reminded me, when it is easy to forget, to be more compassionate to and strive for empathy towards others. I’ve been a bit concerned that my posts might have become a bit preachy, although really, what I have been sharing is how my own thinking has developed. And reminding myself to step back, be open, and be kind.
I've been thinking about this too, because I’m very conscious of discussions throughout society in recent years about increased sensitivity, of avoiding triggers. The questions about freedom of speech* and how far we should go to try to consider others, about how to have hard discussions that are still respectful, and about when it is unkind and unnecessary to do so are not completely resolved. A conversation in the comments of a previous post here were an example of this debate.
I’m trying to find a balance between my own indignation at attitudes about parents and non-parents, or comments that might trigger (a loaded word in itself these days) my own hurt, and my wish to keep dialogue open. I want to keep a dialogue open, because I believe that is how people learn - how we learn about others, and how they learn about us. I haven’t quite been able to reconcile the two in my mind, except for saying that I want everyone to feel they can have open, honest, discussions, ensuring at the same time that these need to be kind, considerate, outward-looking and open-minded.
And have you been able to reconcile this?
* in the broad sense of the phrase, not the US Constitutional definition.