When something is bothering you, do you tend to hold it in or say it all? I always have this internal debate with myself. Should I say something or not? What constitutes as something that’s worth mentioning? These questions are in my head quite often because I happen to deal with someone (on a daily basis) who is the complete opposite. To demonstrate, here is an exact quote from today: “You’re not normal. You don’t possess the natural skill of communication that everyone, but you, has been blessed with.” Yes, it’s funny now, but it’s been a couple hours so I’ve had time to calm down.
I wear my heart on my sleeve, so for me, everything is worth mentioning. This isn’t some kind of overly sensitive, need-to-talk-about-everything, female mentality. It’s just me and my love/hate relationship with the English language. For me, it’s better to be open and communicative about issues that arise as opposed to holding them in. The more you hold in, the more that builds until it all eventually comes out, and it will eventually come out. My mentality is: I know you’re not a mind reader and I don’t expect you to be one. So when things bother me, I’m not going to make you guess what it is. I’ll just tell you.
I know others handle problems differently, but I would rather handle and have my mind mentally process each problem individually. I want to discuss and get over it. I’ve found that for people who tend to hold things in, they also tend to be masters of passive aggression. This is where I fail. I don’t know how to be passive aggressive given my diarrhea of the mouth syndrome. I’ve also noticed that the longer problems build the harder it is to fix them. By the time you do discuss your issues or disagreements, it’s oftentimes too late because you’re only discussing it because you’ve been pushed to that point and that’s not fair to anyone.
However, this is only about how I like to handle problems and as mentioned above it’s very different from how others do it. For me, the key to dealing with disagreements or even irritants isn’t holding it in or even bringing them up. It’s realizing when to let things go even without a deep discussion because sometimes the relationship is worth the little irritants that come along with it.
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By now I’m sure many of you have seen the UCLA rant addressing the loud Asians in the library. The whole thing bothers me. Not because I’m Asian, but because I’m human, have ears and the ability to hear. If you haven’t seen the video it’s basically a blonde girl ranting about her complaints in regards to the overpopulation of Asians occupying the UCLA campus and their various “offensive” behaviors (ie: talking on their cell phones in the library, inviting their entire family to wash clothes in a community Laundromat, etc). It’s ironic that she has the audacity to deem their behavior offensive, yet she fails to recognize how completely inappropriate her entire video is. The fact that she has her own opinion is fine. What’s not so great is documenting it, posting it on the World Wide Web, and not expecting any kind of backlash.
Words are powerful; they mean something even if you don’t intend them to. It’s always important to keep tact in mind. Being outspoken doesn’t mean being rude and being candid doesn’t have to be offensive. As mentioned earlier, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having an opinion (even if it is politically incorrect). In fact, I commend women who have a voice, take a stand and make themselves heard, however, the words that are chosen and the way they are interpreted should be taken into consideration. You don’t have to give up your message, just change the vocabulary. I’m sure she wasn’t the only person bothered by the loud people (who happen to be Asian) on their phones in the library. There are many alternative ways she could have expressed herself that would have pissed off a hell of a lot less amount of people.
My views and beliefs aren’t parallel to everyone else’s but despite not agreeing with you I’ll respect what you said because of how you said it. In the end, you might not have changed my mind but you may have opened my eyes to things I didn’t see before.
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I want to elaborate more on my last post. I spoke a lot about speaking up and making your voice heard but I used to be the opposite of that. For a while I was the person who never had ideas. It was part laziness and part being afraid of having my ideas shot down. I worked with my teams, executed their ideas, and didn’t think anyone noticed my complacent behavior. I was never like this until I took a trip to my professor’s office.
I went into my professor’s office for some professional advice one day and left on the brink of tears. I got a very loud wake up call, similar to a fog horn. He told me he didn’t think I would make it in the industry I so wanted to be a part of. He said that I wasn’t as good as some other students because I never contributed to my teams. Needless to say, I was upset. Actually I was pretty pissed off. Here was this man, who I went to for advice and he gave me the worst advice I’d ever heard. I’m all for constructive criticism, but there wasn’t anything constructive about it. There wasn’t a “you could work on this” or “maybe gain some more experience here”. He completely shot me down. So for a while I never really wanted to speak up in class or in my groups. I became extremely nervous and stressed over my ability to succeed. It was restricting to want to say something, but holding it in.
It took me a while to shake that feeling, but I did. I would love to say that the professor taught me a great lesson, but the truth is, he didn’t. I don’t look on that moment very fondly and don’t like to think about it too often. Not because of what he said, but how I allowed it to make me feel. I’ve talked about disassociating how you feel from how you act and I wasn’t able to do that for a while. I now consider it a lesson learned. Never allow someone to make you feel less than you are.
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“The unreal is more powerful than the real, because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it’s only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on.”- Chuck Palahniuk
Personally and professionally it’s important to know when to speak up, make your voice heard and voice your opinions. Know that you deserve to be heard no matter how insignificant you feel your opinion is because your “insignificant” idea could spark a very significant one. My last post discussed how it felt to be involved with a group of too many chiefs with way too many ideas, but having ideas isn’t a bad thing. I’ve had to work with people in school and professionally who never offered ideas or opinions on anything. They simply did what they were told and were perfectly happy. Perhaps they simply didn’t have an opinion on what we were doing or simplydidn’t care, but maybe it’s because they cared too much of what others thought of them to risk being shot down.
I can relate to the feeling and I know it’s restricting. No one likes having their ideas rejected, but I think it’s worth the risk. Because who knows what makes an idea good. What you may consider a terrible idea may have the potential of turning into something really great with the help of other idea-contributors and I think the risk of missing that opportunity to find out overrides the risk of not finding out at all. I would rather be considered the person who comes up with bad ideas than the person who never has ideas to begin with. It’s important to make an effort and attempt to be better. Being complacent allows no room for progress. And after having a dozen or so bad ideas, one is bound to be a good one, right?
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A few years ago I was put into a group for one of my classes and the group each person was assigned to was a pretty big deal because we had to work with our group mates extensively over the course of the semester. This meant not only during class periods, but often after class, days we didn’t have class and weekends. It was a group of all girls so with all that time together I’m surprised our cycles didn’t synch.
I’ve always enjoyed working in groups because I know there are qualities others bring to the table that I don’t and vice versa, so for the most part I was pretty excited. However, this group quickly changed my mind. This group was different. I couldn’t really put my finger on what made my group so difficult until one of the other girls said one day under her breath, “too many chiefs, not enough Indians” and I could not have put it so eloquently myself. That was it. Everyone wanted to be the one to come up with the best idea, so regardless of who actually had a good idea the others would shoot her down because they couldn’t claim it as their own. We all wanted to be the star, the leader, the chief. When in all actuality what we were really doing was wasting time. In the end, we all looked like losers because so much of our time was spent bickering as opposed to developing the best plan, together.
Everyone has their own opinion of group work. Some hate it because they’ve shared the same experience that I have or worse, they’ve experienced the opposite. The opposite being no one wants to do any work and one poor over-achieving sucker gets stuck with all the work. However, despite having my share of bad groups I still believe the best ideas and projects develop from teamwork. If each member is able to communicate effectively and listen respectfully than it doesn’t matter who came up with the initial “good” idea because with teamwork it will turn into an even better idea and eventually the group project will really turn into a group’s project. I’m not advocating compromise because a compromise means people had to give something up and in my opinion good teamwork means coming up with a result that is exactly how everyone wants it.
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Because I’m such a talker it’s difficult for me to grasp the fact that others may not be the same. It’s easy for me to express myself through words (oftentimes too many words) and frustrating having to deal with those who may be communicationally lacking. However, I feel as if I’ve gotten better with accepting the fact that others express themselves differently than I do. They may be conveying the exact same message, just using a different method. I place such heavy emphasis on words and verbiage that sometimes I forget “actions speak louder than words”. As much as I hate to say this adage I do see the validity. Without the actions, words hold no weight. I’m a firm believer in tailoring your communication style to the listener, but others may not be the same. This holds true especially in personal relationships. It’s much easier to change your communication style when it comes to clients or customers because you’re not around them constantly and you can clock out, or mentally check out. Yet, when you’re communicating with friends, partners, family it’s difficult to communicate in any other way than your own. Whether this means expressing yourself through words, song, dance, whatever floats your boat.
After being in a relationship with someone for the past two years (someone who I have, in pure frustration, referred to as “emotionally lazy” ) I have come to understand that not everyone places such emphasis on words as I do. Some, like Mr. Kelley, prefer actions to words. What he chooses to do compared to what I choose to say could mean the same thing, but executed very differently. Communication is more than words; it includes all methods of conveying messages. Being a Journalism major I guess I tend to forget that sometimes.
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