#HAWMC Day 25: “Maybe you have a tip you’d like to spread the word about and teach other Health Activists. Is it a fact about health care in general, tips for treatment, or a focus within your condition that you want to shine a light on? Whatever it is, get your notepads and #2s ready Health Activists and take some notes! We all have something we can learn more about!”
My tip is an equal-opportunity item: Both afflicted and non-afflicted can benefit from being so totally full of it!!
“What are you on?”
The biggest lesson I’ve learned as a patient, a friend, an advocate, a wife, a mother….*takes a breath*….a daughter, a cousin, a law clerk, a member of a community who’d become my extended family…
*takes another breath*
You can be truth-FUL, without being tact-LESS.
If we look at being a health activist, we immediately can identify with no less than eleventy-billion differing viewpoints. Okay, well, close enough.
What I find becomes a problem is when we’re so overly passionate about our own thoughts/ideas/experiences…our wording of such can quickly spiral into invalidating the thoughts/ideas/experiences of others.
What I also find becomes a problem is when we see valid “errors” in thoughts/ideas/experiences that directly relate to and/or cause dangerous conditions/events/potential to the health afflicted. Now, we’ve entered a “duty to care” to speak up.
I can sure as shit tell you that there are a plethora of folk who like to “tell it like it is.” They feel no etiquette barriers or hesitations to come right out and say that you’re being an asshat.
Is this productive? Helpful? Warranted?!?
Makes you look like a bully, actually. And I’ve a LOT of current experience in dealing with such…both within the chronic health community and beyond.
There is a way to present your thoughts/ideas/experiences truthfully, without being tactless about it.
Lacking or exhibiting a lack of tact; bluntly inconsiderate or indiscreet.
For example, you can use an “I statement.”
I feel ____________ about ____________ because ______________.
Truthful. Factual. Lacking the verbose outburst of emotion that the recipient cannot feel threatened by.
Coming at someone with, “Why would you think something like that?” causes an immediate defence mechanism to kick in and initiates the potential for conflict.
Conflict helps no one.
Think about the past conversations you’ve had with others…or that you have been directly involved in…
“Oh-emm-gee, I’ve had a headache for TWO days…I totally get what you’re going through.”
“Just get more sleep, then.”
“This nutritional diet is the one that will help you and your condition(s).”
Three statements, all invalidating or demeaning the recipient.
“I feel awful about having had this mo-fo headaches for TWO days because I’m *totally* not used to something like this!”
“I feel confused about the sleep issue because I thought it meant you just needed to get more of it.”
“I feel FRABJOUS about my new way of eating because my blood sugars have gone down and my energy level has gone up.”
No invalidations. No demeaning the choices the recipient has made for themselves. And, most importantly, allowing the opportunity for a fluid and dynamic conversation.
Go. Be full of it. And less. Totally less.