For the last Tuesday in February, I’ve decided to post my reflection on the She Said/She Said project. I can honestly say that I’ve learned a lot over the past few weeks. And the outcome was not at all what I expected.
Initially, I approached Meredith about the project because I thought we could set an example: that the two of us could open our blogs and welcome discussion about these topics. Although I am a Girlfriend and she is a Mom, we are not enemies. I thought our discussions would allow us to find some additional understanding and common ground. And I think that happened, but there were some sharp edges along the way.
I was surprised to see the attitudes conveyed through the comment sections. I suppose it’s a natural instinct to simply “make a call and take a stance”. I just wasn’t quite prepared for the way it played out (although, come to think of it, I’ve seen it a thousand times before. I just thought we were different). After stepping away from my own emotions, I can understand where everyone was coming from (some place inside him/herself which was significantly impacted by previous life experience related to our discussion). Advice was served, defenses were ignited and tempers flared. But it’s all good. The experience has further proven to me how necessary it is to communicate effectively (why don’t grades K-12 teach “Communication” along with “English”?).
Some key insights I’m taking away are as follows:
- All emotions are valid. Not because the emotions are correct, but because they are present.
- We asked the wrong questions. Personal preferences pale in comparison with the Big Picture. We should have taken a solution-conscious approach and asked not “what do I want?” but rather “what can we do?”
- There’s always a lot to learn. It’s important to listen whole-heartedly.
- Hope is still an option.
- Communication is imperative.
- Every situation is different.
- The Blogosphere is a great forum to share information, but there’s no way we can know everything. So have a margarita every time you give/receive advice (the salt thing, get it?).
Just a personal note: I think Meredith is doing a terrific job. Her kids have relationships with both parents, she communicates with her ex on a regular basis and she was open-minded enough to delve into this adventure with me. I respect her immensely and wish her the best.
Again, thank you to everyone who participated, whether you commented here, there or silently in your head. If there’s anything special you learned that you’d like to note, please do so. Your comments are welcome.