Unique Person Poem
By Sue Ellson
I am a unique person
You are a unique person
I may remind you of another person
You may remind me of another person
I am not someone else, even if I have similar traits
You are not someone else, even if you have similar traits
I may trigger you unknowingly
You may trigger me unknowingly
I value understanding and acknowledgment
You value understanding and acknowledgment
I only want advice if I ask for it
You only want advice if you ask for it
I may need to have boundaries with you
You may need to have boundaries with me
My past experiences have been good and bad
Your past experiences have been good and bad
I am a unique person
You are a unique person
To truly be
Let’s live filter free
Recently, I seem to have upset one particular person I know twice in messaging conversations we had online. I can hand on heart say that it was never my intention to do so. In the first instance, I suspect that what I said to this person may have been similar to what someone else has told them in the past and I was being judged by the impact the other person had on the person I know. The person even told me that they knew it was not my intention to upset them, but they still chose to tell me about it when we met in person.
On one level, I was grateful that they could tell me what they didn’t like. That made me feel as if they were comfortable explaining how they felt and I thanked them for letting me know and I apologised without hesitation. But later, I felt criticised, especially when they said they knew it was not my intention to upset them.
Two weeks later, I thought I was just sharing a story, again via online messaging, but this time the person told me they thought I was giving them advice. This time, I took offence immediately. Did I have to watch every word I said to this person from now on? Would I have to imagine what their filters are and use those filters to determine everything I say or do from now on? Colloquially known as ‘walk on egg shells’ every time we talked?
To be completely transparent about how I feel, I can say that it will take me some time to process the negative feelings I now have and to decide whether or not I can keep communicating with this person because I have no idea what all of their filters are, what they are going through at the moment and whether or not this is going to happen all the time from now on. I may need to accept that we can’t keep communicating if I am continually upsetting them (again, without any intention to do so).
As I do with many personal challenges, I chose to write a poem about it. To dig deeper and reflect on how we interact with other people. Sure, I can understand that everyone in your life can have an impact on how you engage with other people. I know I have my own filters and my go-to behaviour is to go silent until I am ready to speak again if I am upset. It gives me time to process how I feel and decide what I will do next. I rarely react in the moment but I do try and make sense of it all and view the situation from all sides.
But what would happen if I could let go of all of my past experiences and not let them filter my current perception of a situation?
Could I offer that same luxury to the person I am talking to, understand they may have their own filters and not react to what they have just said to me? Could I be confident enough to respond in the moment and clarify any misunderstanding? Or be present in the uncomfortableness, agree or disagree and continue the conversation without holding myself back?
Could I engage with them more openly? Would I be able to let anything that feels like criticism be heard and not take it personally? Could I somehow hold space for their filters, words and actions, despite how they affect me? Could I speak up and share my truth?
I will not accept everything someone else says to me, because I know filters may be involved on either side and some things are literally said in the heat of the moment. I would just like to ensure that my response will allow for the filters present in the situation. That said, I would still like to be me and not filter everything I say either.
I guess time will tell. In the meantime, I have vowed to be more conscious of the filters that others have and the conscious or subconscious filters I have that determine what I say, do and feel about what has been said to me. I can also admit that I have a tendency to avoid confrontation and haven’t always spoken up in the past.
Perhaps I am too sensitive. Perhaps some other people are too sensitive. Perhaps our new ‘woke-ness’ is still a work in progress.
Regardless, I will see this recent experience as an opportunity to learn more about how to communicate with every unique person. Online or offline.
In the end, my goal is to be respectful in every situation. To myself and to others. With love, Sue Ellson 🙂
Photo is of an emu at Emu Lodge in Lal Lal, Victoria, Australia on Saturday 23 July 2022.
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