Talk blocking – what is it and how can we fix it? Tearing people apart, no matter who they are, is wrong, and it’s devastating to your mental health.
I don’t know if it’s me, maybe it’s me. Nah, can’t be. Ok so, I can’t be the only one who’s noticing the modern-day form of communication. A form I like to call Talk blocking. What is this talk blocking you ask?
Well, simply stated, it’s when you voice your personal experience, only to have it destroyed by others. In other words, you get talk blocked. In my view this is not good and frankly, it’s killing human compassion.
Say you have suffered some horrific abuse and to help you manage the mental pain you’re experiencing; you turn to a social media support group. Say because of who you are, your color, your gender and so on, you are met with a minimized version of help in the real world, and therefore, you are desperately seeking the compassion you deserve.
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In your desperation to have someone, some group of people hear you and help, you find that the talk block is even meaner and colder than you could ever imagine online. In fact, you are mortified at what amounts to being eviscerated online for simply telling your story.
“You’re a so and so, you don’t matter.” “You deserve what you got because you are who you are.” or “Such and such doesn’t happen to your (insert group or gender identity here).
For me, this systematic and brutal dismissal of anyone who is suffering is why I hate TikTok and other social media. In my view, they are an echo chamber of hatred perpetuated by every group on earth. If there were ever a better tool designed to divide people, I haven’t seen it.
Why do I think it’s flaming hatred? Well, if you feel empowered by your own life experiences to viciously attack and dismiss another for their own pain (talk blocking), what do you call that? Justification?
Firstly, in order for one to be justified in cutting down another human being, they must be right or reasonable. A fact that simply doesn’t stack up. Unless you think tearing apart an innocent person on the internet is somehow justified. In reality our own experiences don’t grant us permission to say and do whatever we want. Especially when the person on the other end of the internet didn’t cause your pain.
No, in fact like you, they are looking for help. And like you, they might have not been listened to or they have been dismissed by those they needed most. Whatever the case, you have more reason to unite than you do to hate. Man, woman, other identities, and races if its pain – then treat everyone the same.
Furthermore, if you find you’re one of those who think your pain is somehow more important than others, it’s worth asking yourself these questions:
- Why do I feel like my pain is more important than others?
- Does my pain trigger a barrage of anger at people that don’t deserve it?
- Is it fair to dismiss another person’s experience, especially if it’s terribly similar?
- Should their gender identity, color, or cultural background be a reason for me feeling justified in treating them poorly?
- Would you, without justification, attack someone in a coffee shop for telling you about their sexual assault for example and if not, why? And if not, why would you do it on the internet?
- How do you feel when you are treated like your subhuman for talking about something horrible that has happened to you?
- Finally, are your strong moral convictions born out of your own experience justified? Do you have all the relevant information? If you truly don’t know where you get your information from, does it still qualify you to attack another person? No, the answer is no.
Note: In a recent study, one you can read in Psychology Today, just over 84% of the mental health information available on TikTok, was blatantly false. So, do you really know what you’re talking about? It’s worth noting because a sense of justification can erode your compassion or feel like you are being attacked. Scary, considering what you are sure is accurate, end up being as true as the Harry Potter movies.
Try repeatable sources like PubMed, Harvard Medical School, and Google scholar just to name a few.
How to effectively communicate
What we are seeing in our modern-day communication style is a lean towards individualism in a way that is a bit too individualistic. What’s worse, is that it’s being done under the unintentional guise of group identity.
If for example, I was an advocate for men’s rights, because I am a man, a man who was sexually assaulted, I may join like-minded people. I may do so because of the common experience. Therefore, I also may feel like men of sexual assault are not being heard and or having a tough time getting support.
Certainly, it’s a fact that men of abuse in any form are tragically under supported, and that the numbers show an ever-increasing rate of abuse for this portion of the populus. However, as a man who’s been assaulted, this doesn’t give me license to be dismissive of anyone else. I certainly have no right to scream and holler at others.
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In fact, me being cold and callous towards others who have suffered abuse, makes things worse. My pain is in fact, “not more valid than anyone else’s.” Yet, here we are, waging a war of “mine matters more!” A notion that is categorically untrue. If you are a living, breathing human, and you need help, then I choose to be here for you. One on one, individually. Frankly, it’s heartbreaking to see such hatred displayed towards those, who aren’t only suffering themselves, but who are also innocent. In other words, they have done nothing to you or me personally to warrant such despicable behaviour.
The above is precisely why I am not a member of any advocacy group. While they have value, I am more interested in the global commonalities that mental illness inflicts on all peoples of the world.
What’s more, I fear getting caught in the algorithm of a group. And as a result, end up only worrying about that group’s agenda. In other words, a group has an identity and identity can become an echo chamber of all things important to that group.
So then, how does one learn to acknowledge others without feeling like they are being devalued themselves? While the answers aren’t easy, they are nonetheless achievable. How? Well, I think a good place to start is to define what it means to be human.
What it means to be human
Being human refers to the qualities and characteristics that are unique to humans, such as the capacity for abstract thought, self-awareness, consciousness, empathy, and the ability to communicate and form relationships with others. It also encompasses cultural, social, and emotional experiences that are part of the human condition.
Being human is often defined by certain inherent qualities and abilities, such as reason, emotion, creativity, and morality. These qualities can vary from person to person and can be shaped by an individual’s environment, upbringing, and personal experiences. Ultimately, the definition of what it means to be human can be subjective and can change over time as societies and cultures evolve. However, at its core, being human is about having the capacity to understand the world around us, experience and express a range of emotions and connect with others in meaningful ways.
What makes this so important is that it defines us all. Every one of us fits in this descriptor. And there are some fundamental core elements that free us from our divisive and overly individualistic tendencies.
Core elements to understanding others.
Compassion for others is a fundamental aspect of what it means to be human. It refers to the ability to feel empathy and concern for the well-being of others and to respond with kindness and understanding. Compassion involves recognizing and acknowledging the suffering of others and feeling a fervent desire to help. It is an important quality for building strong relationships and for creating a more caring and just world. Compassion can motivate individuals to engage in acts of kindness and generosity and to work towards creating a better world for all.
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Research has shown that compassion has a positive impact on both the person experiencing it and the person expressing it. When we show compassion to others, we can experience feelings of happiness and fulfillment, while the recipient of our compassion may feel comforted and supported.
Compassion is also a core component of many spiritual and religious traditions and is often seen as a key aspect of what it means to be a moral and ethical person. By demonstrating compassion for others, we can create a more interconnected and harmonious world, where everyone is valued and treated with dignity and respect.
Self-regulation refers to the ability of an individual to control their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in order to achieve their goals and maintain healthy relationships. It is a key aspect of emotional intelligence and is essential for success in many areas of life, including personal relationships, work, and education.
Self-regulation involves several interrelated skills, such as impulse control, delaying gratification, and the ability to manage one’s emotions in challenging situations. It also involves setting and adhering to personal standards, making decisions that align with one’s values and goals, and taking responsibility for one’s actions.
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Self-regulation is an important aspect of self-care and personal growth, as it allows individuals to manage stress and navigate difficult situations with greater ease. It is a skill that can be developed and improved over time with practice and self-reflection.
Effective self-regulation also involves balancing one’s needs and desires with the needs and well-being of others. By developing strong self-regulation skills, individuals can build stronger relationships, make better decisions, and lead more fulfilling lives.
Learn about what makes us tick – Neuroscience, genetics, etc.
It’s not enough to think we know about who we are and why we do what we do, we need to go further to learn about the human condition. In other words, we know the self, but we are not aware of the functioning aspect of being human.
For example, before I started obsessively diving into neuroscience and genetics, I wasn’t aware of how similar we are. From Asia to Alaska, humans are remarkably the same. This helped me extend my compassion for others from diverse cultures and countries. Are we different, yes, does our individual experiences matter, they sure do. And that’s kind of the point here, because we are the same, mostly, we all deserve the support and compassion we need as individuals.
Sit down and have a meal with someone you know nothing about.
Many of us grow up in cultures that have a preconceived notion of what another culture is like. Thus, many of what we think about other cultures is steeped in fake news and racism.
My best advice? Don’t believe what you see in movies and TV, rather, sit down and have a meal with someone from another culture, a mental illness, gender, or age group.
Having had meals with people from the Philippines, India, religious gatherings, and so on, my life has been both enriched and enlightened. Why? Because we are so similar and yet different enough that getting to know strangers highlights what it means to be human.
What do all humans want and need?
The most valuable thing I’ve learned from getting to know people from all over the world and from various levels of society is there are way more amazingly good humans out there than you ever thought. Learning this has added a dimension of peace and beauty that was missing from my life.
What’s more, I’ve learned that we all have common threads in our lives that we are both wired and required to have for a good life. While they may vary, those universal needs look something like this:
1. Connection and relationships: Humans are social creatures and have a strong desire for connection and meaningful relationships with others. This includes a need for love, intimacy, and a sense of belonging.
2. Safety and security: Humans have a fundamental need for safety and security, both physically and emotionally. This includes having a secure place to live, feeling protected from harm, and having a sense of stability and predictability in their lives.
3. Happiness and fulfillment: Most people want to experience happiness, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose in their lives. This may involve pursuing hobbies, relationships, or careers that bring them joy and meaning.
4. Autonomy and control: Humans also have a desire for independence and the ability to make their own choices and decisions. This includes having control over their lives and the ability to express their individuality.
5. Recognition and achievement: Many people have a strong desire for recognition and a sense of accomplishment. This may involve achieving success in their careers, being acknowledged for their contributions, or receiving validation from others.
These common desires reflect the human need for connection, security, happiness, and self-expression. However, it is important to note that these desires can vary greatly from person to person and may change over the course of one’s life.
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Development of good communication skills
Good communication is a critical aspect of building strong relationships and achieving success in various areas of life. The following are some of the key elements of effective communication:
1. Active Listening: One of the most important aspects of effective communication is being an active listener. This involves paying attention to the person speaking, avoiding distractions, and providing verbal and nonverbal feedback to show that you are engaged.
2. Clarity: Good communication requires clear and concise language. This means using words that are easy to understand and avoiding ambiguity. It is also important to ensure that the message being conveyed is appropriate for the audience and context.
3. Empathy: Showing empathy and understanding towards the person you are communicating with can help to build trust and establish a positive relationship. This involves putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and considering their perspective.
4. Nonverbal cues: Nonverbal cues, such as body language and tone of voice, can play a significant role in communication. Paying attention to these cues can help to clarify the message being conveyed and provide additional information about the speaker’s intentions and emotions.
5. Confidence: Confidence in one’s communication skills can help to project a clear and authoritative message. This involves speaking clearly and concisely, making eye contact, and being comfortable with silence when necessary.
6. Flexibility: Effective communication also requires flexibility and the ability to adapt to different situations and individuals. This may involve adjusting one’s communication style to suit the needs of the person you are speaking with or the context of the conversation.
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Again, effective communication requires a combination of active listening, clarity, empathy, nonverbal cues, confidence, and flexibility. By developing these skills, individuals can build stronger relationships, achieve better outcomes, and improve their overall effectiveness in communication.
As far as I am concerned, the biggest challenge we have is that of this talk blocking those who are suffering a similar fate.
Finally, my dream is to see us all understand and have compassion for all those under the amazing life-giving sun. For then and only then can we take on the division and give everyone the help they need.
Remember, regardless of how limited your energy may be, you have a choice where you put it.