emotional terrorism

“Interpretation is what makes us all so miserable.” – Younes Mourchid

Description. Interpretation. Evaluation.

We talked about this in class this morning, during a discussion on intercultural communication. How important it is to take into context every detail of yourself and of the other people around you.

Generally this class is boring. We don’t do much but stick to the info provided in the textbook. It’s your typical powerpoint/lecture sort of class. But today we talked about the Description/Interpretation/Evaluation model and it surprisingly sparked a good discussion.

As a person, my teacher, Younes Mourchid, has a very rich background in order to teach this class. He makes it very clear as well, and reminds us every class about his background of being a Moroccan born, tri-lingual, well read professor that has taught in multiple institutions around the United States. Cool. Whatever. Although being a teacher is the second hardest job, second to being a parent, I personally thing being a teacher can also be a very selfish practice. I was the daughter of a teacher. The boundary between teacher and parent can be blurred. Teachers, to an extent, will push their interpretations and evaluations on you and you learn them without even giving a second thought. You accept them. Teachers give you a grade for how well you regurgitate what information they deem important to know and understand. I’m not at all taking away from how difficult it is to be a teacher, but I will put it out there that it’s not entirely a selfless job.

Anyways, in one of the more enlightening moments I’ve had at school, emotionally anyways, the idea of how important interpretation and evaluation are was brought forth. You spend all these years in school, being told to interpret and being told to evaluate, openly, in order to receive a good grade. It becomes second nature. You spend all this time around people who interpret and evaluate and tell you what the correct way to think is, and then your mind is so trained to constantly see those things that eventually it seems odd to just see the facts. To simply just describe what happened. A flower is a flower. Red is just a color. But are they? They always mean something to you because you spend your entire life creating connections and meanings behind otherwise mundane things.

That’s where the power of words and signs can make or break who you are and how you feel.

A flower is not just a flower.

Red is not just a color.

Awareness of your evaluations – that’s where the problems lie. Awareness of your interpretations. Why you take things a certain way. Why you only see certain messages.

Awareness of the words you choose, or the words you choose to focus on.

People choose words on purpose. Apologies may just be words to some but may also be the most difficult thing for themto do. Decoding depends on the context. Context all have to do with how you were brought up.

I’ve spent a lot of time re-living conversations in my head over and over. I’ve spent a lot of time regretting some of the words I purposely chose to hurt others. I’ve spent a lot of time still being hurt by some of the words that people purposely chose to hurt me. I’ve spent a lot of time exercising this sort of emotional terrorism – allowing people to pull me down, accepting their actions, pushing it back in their faces, twisting and manipulating situations to be in my favor. There was a lot of blame irresponsibly branded onto people.

I’ve spent a lot of time interpreting and evaluating things in the worst emotional state. It’s no wonder that I felt the way I felt. That I was so angry and hurt all the time.

I’m not going to take full responsibility for the things that happened to me, but I’m not going to assert blame on to everybody else either.

I saw what I needed to see. I now see what I should have seen. It was another hard lesson to learn but I get it. And it’s brought a lot of peace. Today’s lecture in class just made everything click together. It put words to what I was trying to figure out how to say for a while now. To something that I was trying to grasp at for a little over a year now. Seeing the world in a different light changes everything. You don’t know everything so you can’t possibly be right about everything. Things are not that bad. It’s all relative. It’s ok to feel sorry for yourself. It’s ok to be a princess. It’s ok to be hurt. But you have to grow and learn. You have to pick yourself up with grace. You have to be fair, and loyal, and smart, even if you’re prissy and like to be taken care of.

I wrote about evolving and moving forward. About the future, about a month ago. If you had asked me to do this more than a year ago, none of these things, these lessons, these obvious things that everybody should be doing, but that I hadn’t taken care to notice, wouldn’t have been a reality.

I’m turning 25 in August. It’s a scary number. And it’s again something that I wrote about being a difficult topic for me to wholly pursue and be ok with. But I’m trying.

There’s always a sunset and a sunrise. I’m proud of where I’ve come, of what my “sun” is setting on. Now to see what the sun brings as it rises.

“There’s always a story. It’s all stories, really. The sun coming up every day is a story. Everything’s got a story in it. Change the story, change the world.” ― Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld, #32)

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