Monday, July 09, 2007

Example of Gay Species Wisdom

Having just nominated the Gay Species for a Thinking Blogger Award, I happened to come across a comment he left on another bloggers site that illustrates why I included him among my nominees. It also bears upon my last post on finding the perfect lover and communication issues. I hope he does not mind that I have quoted his comment. Here's Gay Species at his best:

[T]the freedom to express one’s self is critical to a relationship of any kind. When physical intimacy, couples with emotional and rational intimacy, we are extremely vulnerable to each other, and it’s often known as “love.” But vulnerability, while the heart and core of love, also makes our “worth” more exposed to the slightest criticism. If some idiot tells you you’re an asshole, who cares? But if a Beloved mentions even the slightest flaw, it can often become mountainous. Then resentment, blame, alienation, and a whole slew of adverse consequences can ensue — usually over a relatively insignificant matter.

If it needs to be stated — and sometimes it does — one of the couple could state that “no subject is taboo in our relationship,” and “any subject raised is subject to discussion without necessarily drawing a conclusion.” Plus, one might add, “any decision or conclusion, if any, might be revised in the future, if either of us gains a different perspective.” Sometimes, just stating the OBVIOUS, just mentioning it, is sufficient to de-toxify a discussion from becoming a polemic.
A subsidiary strategy, esp. among beloveds, is to avoid using the word, “you,” except in a sentence where it is only the direct object, never the subject of a sentence. For ease, we often say things that have no injury implied, but because it starts, “remember when YOU . . .?” one tends to become defensive, even if not judgment or judgmentalism is to follow. Stating the same proposition in the first-person singular, “I was wondering if you remember when . . . ?” Just by shifting to the first-person and avoiding the second-person manner of speaking, tends to “depersonalize” basic observations with or without implied judgments.

For example: “I happen to think a couple that works through matters, rather than avoids them, achieves a deeper level of satisfaction. I know it feels that way to me. So, when we have a conflict, I feel we have not reached an acceptable understanding for either one of us, but especially for me. Could we agree to address issues of significance in a ‘depersonal” way, such as I am now, so that I will express it from only my point of view, and you will express an issue from your point of view. Then we can examine each other’s point of view with respect for each other maintained, without attacking each other’s person? I love the person, but its a point of view I want to address.” (Substitute, behavior, or negligence, etc.)

What tends to happen in deeply emotional relationships, is the language of “everyday” becomes super-charged with “reading between the lines,” “double entendre,” or “inferences without validity.” We all do it. Our empathy and love for the other heightens our sensitivity to what they say, and often charges it with meaning (implied, inferred) that may not even be there. One does not want to “deaden” the sensitivity, since that is the reason the relationship exists. So, we “deaden” some of the language. We try to “de-personalize” it without making it “impersonal.”
By speaking in the first-person or third-person subject, it does “de-personalize” without “impersonalizing.” So, the sentiments, feelings, objections, etc., are about the real issue and not about the “person” himself. Now, one often infers, “well, you don’t like A, I do A, therefore you don’t like me,” which is a faulty inference, but we do it all the time. By depersonalizing our language, we tend to avoid these faulty inferences.
We want to retain the sensitivity, just not the faulty inferences, drawn from hyper-sensitivity. “Yes, it’s true I don’t like A, but I still love you. Could you do B instead, or how about C? That way I would be pleased, because I value it.” No judgment of the other is stated in the preceding sentence, but it accomplishes the say thing as, “would you stop doing A.” It is not dissimulation, it’s just a different linguistic strategy that fosters communication without prejudging the conclusion, much less judging the person.

Having suggested all this, there may be times when strong judgments are appropriate. But then reserve them for those unusual times. Thus, when one uses these strong judgments, the force of them will be in “how you feel, what you feel,” and not another judgmentalism in an endless list of personal attacks.

Once we realize that our Beloved is not “everyday” in the sense of everyone else, because his “worth” is worth more than anyone else, and we understand he wants his worth to be that extraordinary worthwhile that we want to prize it, we discover “ordinary” discourse is no more appropriate with a beloved than ordinary anything else with our Beloved.

Just as every other aspect of our Beloved is worth more than the worth of everyday, even the worth of our dearest friends, the last — and I mean the last — thing any one should undermine is the other’s worth, even, and especially, if unintended. We just “assume,” and we should not. Assume only that HIS worth to him, in order for HIM to offer worth to YOU, is dependent on how YOU talk to him as WORTHY of each of you. Once one attacks, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended, the other’s WORTH, one is hurting both one’s self and the other, by diminishing HIS value to himself, from which HE offers himself to YOU something of WORTH YOU prize as WORTHY of only HIM and WORTHY of you. Ergo, “everyday” language, the expedient language, is not always the appropriate language for such SPECIAL people in SPECIAL situations already SENSITIVE to the other, perhaps, even hopefully, ACCENTUATED, because YOU are WORTH enough to him for him to CARE exceedingly about what YOU say.

All of which is WORTH using a different language using a different point of view to “de-personalize” the words, but to keep the communication open and intimately “personal.” Keep always in mind: Any time you criticize your beloved you are criticizing his WORTH in HIS eyes to YOU. (If I could bold that last line, I would.) And because he’s WORTH more than joe blow, HE is already sensitive, as are YOU, to any comment that DEVALUES him for you. Don’t lose those VALUES, just replace the emphasis off the LOVED, onto something more “objectified,” more de-personalized, so HE is not the target, but something ABOUT him may be discussed and reviewed in context of YOU.

Hope this helps. It may seem a bit artificial, even feel strained to do, but when someone is that WORTHWHILE, it changes the whole dynamic. If he’s no longer “ordinary,” ordinary language will never do either.

1 comment:

BostonPobble said...

Thank you for sharing this. Thanks to the blogger who wrote it originally. It is beautifully done.