Dismissed and Unheard

It’s amazing how a little item like a mask can be the source of such social division and outrage.  Yet I have a simple thought to consider this morning, on how we got to this point.

Take a look at your social media feed, especially Facebook and Twitter. Count the number of responses of kindness and understanding.

That probably didn’t take long.

Now count all the posts that dismiss someone, something or their behavior.

My guess is you would never run out of examples.

Here’s a few from my feed:

  • Folks don’t care about anyone other than themselves.
  • Americans are hicks and hayseeds and won’t listen to science and reason.
  • The government is trying to take away freedom.
  • Nobody is going to tell me what to do.
  • People are just plain stupid.
  • Why can’t you just wear the f****n mask!?!?

Somewhere missing in our social conversation is the art of disagreement. Holding a different opinion than my neighbor should be expected and at the least, like the old bumper sticker pronounced, tolerated. Disagreement is healthy and normal, or I should say, it should be.

A serious problem lies in the dismissive spirit through which disagreement is filtered. My response to any controversy is representative of both my personal bias about my ideas and my conviction of who you are as a person.  

I wear a mask when I go out in public.  I don’t like the conflicting reports I come across that challenge the science and research behind it’s effectiveness. I see the common sense in it and since I have other priorities, I’m not going to die on that battlefield. 

A mask is an easy thing for me to adopt, but a mask is not what piques my interest.  I want to know why you think the way you do about it. I want to know why it’s a big deal for you either way. It makes for a better conversation

When I listen to friends who are either pro or anti-mask, I pay attention to a common denominator on both sides. I almost always see a reaction of dismissiveness. It’s easy to put someone down with whom I disagree, call them a name and dismiss their point of view. I don’t have to engage them any further.  But when a person feels dismissed, they feel unseen and unheard. The human spirit does not do well when ignored.

To be an effective leader, I’ll never change anyone’s mind unless I make them feel heard, especially if we don’t agree.

3 Replies to “Dismissed and Unheard”

  1. I wear a bandana ONLY because I live in a blue state and I can not go into any stores unless I have my face covered. Today was the first day for the insanity!

    But, I also wear it when visiting friends in a retirement home…for their safety only. It makes good sense!

    I believe in herd immunity!!!! I was a rancher for 20 years and I still work with cattle every day.

    It makes a whole lot more sense than the crap coming from our seemingly well educated science community who has politicized a pandemic for their liberal ideologies.

    Will I take a government mandated vaccine that is in the pipeline?

    NO!!!

    Not until I know it’s not tainted with anything unholy!

    This pandemic is just a foreshadowing to what’s to come. Use common sense, know God and His Word and you will be OK.

    God protects His own but He also gives us a brain!

  2. So true. I also think that the art of listening to understand has somehow left us. Most listen to respond, making it easy to verbally dump your opinion for or against something on someone.
    I’m trying to be more mindful these days. I’m much more interested in how the opinion was formed. That’s the juicy part.

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