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The Need To Be Heard And Acknowledged, Is It Enough?

by Patricia Porter
March 2016

Guest post by Abigail R.C. McManus

Patricia Porter

You want to feel heard in a conflict. I believe it is also important that you have your feelings acknowledged when disputing with another.

During our recent Conflict Chat, Pattie, Tracy and I touched on the topic of the need to be heard and acknowledged when discussing the new mediation program Baltimore will be launching for citizen complaints against police. Being a native Baltimorean and observing the power of mediation, I am super excited about this program.

I have recently contemplated if being heard and acknowledged is enough for anyone to feel satisfied? Or, does an action have to follow for you to feel truly gratified?

Baltimore has built up years of distrust, anger, and resentment between the police and the community. Perhaps this program is a step in the right direction to not only allow its citizens and police a chance to voice their feelings and point of views so that each side can hear and acknowledge one another. But also, it shows an action that the Baltimore Riots that occurred in April last year did not go unnoticed, and the issues that caused it will not be swept under the rug as it has in the past. Do I think the police and community relations will change overnight? Absolutely not, but again it is a step in the right direction.

What about in our everyday lives? Is an action needed for you to feel satisfied? Or will someone hearing and acknowledging you be enough?

It would be dishonest of me to say that having someone hear my words and recognize them is sufficient, because to me it’s not. I need actions to speak louder than words and from several conversations I have held with others, I am not the only one.

Unfortunately, every person we come in contact with may not feel the need to listen, acknowledge, or demonstrate some action to right a perceived wrong to satisfy you.

What can you do in those instances?

  1. Point it out. My husband and I have gone through this experience before. He is logical and level-headed and does not get emotionally invested in our disputes the way that I do. Therefore, my feelings get hurt much more than his so from time to time I have to say, ” Bernard I need you to listen to me.” Or, ” Bernard, I need you to acknowledge that what you said was hurtful.” He usually listens, acknowledges, and apologizes.
  2. Walk away. If you find that you are consistently having this issue with the same person or persons, ask yourself is it worth your building anger and resentment to continue engaging in these situations with them? I was friends with someone who continually brushed off my hurt feelings as if they were unimportant. After years of this occurring, I finally decided enough was enough and I severed our friendship. I found I was much happier once I did.
  3. Look in the mirror. Why would I ever suggest in a situation where you have been wronged to look in the mirror? Well, I noticed that I get upset when someone doesn’t listen to me, acknowledge my feelings, or follow it up with an action. But, I have also noticed I am guilty of doing the same. So, recognize the things you get upset about and take note of when you act in the same manner. We are all humans capable of making these errors, but it is important to address them personally and not continue the cycle.

Biography


Pattie Porter, LCSW, is the Founder and President of Conflict Connections, Inc. in San Antonio, TX. She provides workplace and business conflict resolution services including mediation, conflict management coaching, team facilitation and training throughout the U.S. She is the host of her own Blog Talk Radio show called The Texas Conflict Coach.



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