You and I talk all day, every day. We talk to friends, family, partners, and kids at work, school, or whatever we do; we constantly use language in some form. Tone, diction, word choice, and how we say something are just as important as what those words mean. With it being 2023, parts of the language aren't used anymore, a new language has been introduced, and there are literal fights over language daily. However, when we consciously choose to use the language that will have the most impact, we are no longer talking but communicating.
Did you know that in the WORLD, as of 2015, 2/3 of the suicides in the WORLD are by men? Did you know that suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States? Next, men died by suicide 3.88x more than women; 69.68% of suicides in 2020 were by white males, yet 93% of surveyed adults, when asked, think that suicide can be prevented in the United States (AFSP, 2020). I could go on and on about the suicide rates in the United States or any other country, but what does that have to do with communication? It has everything to do with NOT communicating when needed. While a sample of 93% of people think that suicide can be prevented, of that 93%, I challenge if they even know how or what one can do. I promise, now that your eyes are open after reading those statistics in the country, many of whom will read this live in USA, or if you don't, I challenge you to look at the same eye-opening statistics for your country.
First Challenge, I was hoping you could repeat after me and say it with me now "IT AIN'T WEAK TO SPEAK!" Now, do you believe the words you just said? Some of you reading may have just said it or read it out loud to humor me or to follow the status quo, but why? Why don't you believe them? Are you too proud, embarrassed, or ashamed to speak up about your feelings? If a friend came to you and said they were struggling, wouldn't you likely, much like myself, sit down and listen? If you are there for someone when they need or needed you, I can guarantee they will be there for you the same way you were for them. You may need to figure out who to talk to and why someone will listen to you, your problems, and your issues. You feel like you're a burden and don't want to burden anyone else. I have breaking news, you aren't a burden, you aren't wasting someone else's time, and you, your problems, and your dark thoughts are valid, and they happen, and you need and should talk about them. Don't run, don't hide, face your demons, your traumas, do it loudly or silently, just at the end of the day, do it.
We could end right there, and I would be okay with it, but why end when we didn't learn much about communication, as I alluded to in the beginning? Now, you just learned or read a little about communication with yourself and owning up to the thoughts and the voices inside of you that need to be dealt with. But what about your family, friends, and work? These are vital areas involving different communication levels that change over time. Let's bring it outside the home; let's talk about communicating within a work environment. It's 2023; no one is married to their jobs anymore, no one is all into their career, well maybe no one, but fewer and fewer people. However, at work, you have to talk to clients, co-workers, peers, and associates and call them whatever you need to, preferably by their name and proper pronouns.
While working in management over the last decade, I have learned that people A) want to be heard. That's it, people want to be heard, and do they always go about it the best way to be heard? No, they don't. Sometimes cause, emotions get the best of us. When someone comes at you angrily or upset, they likely have leaned too far into that emotion; all you can do to get through it quicker is stay water. Stay calm, and listen because they say what they need you to hear within that blow-up. The next thing I have learned is that B) people generally want to be accepted and respected for what they are and not judged. Don't bash someone for their pronouns, for their sexual, religious, racial, or ethnic orientations, because why does that matter to you? It shouldn't; you should see them as human beings with value to add to the job, company, or someone else. It's not your place to judge, so why waste time and energy talking negatively and judging? It serves you no value and damages you mentally and emotionally; they likely did nothing to deserve it.
Okay, now enough about work because I can only think about work so much while writing this because this is what I genuinely love doing, is writing and creating, while the thing I love even more is my girls and communicating with them. I was listening to the Joe Rogan experience, and he was talking about how he talks to his kids, and he said something along the lines of talking to them like an adult colleague you have nothing but the utmost respect for. My Second Challenge today is to adopt this mindset if you aren't already and show that level of respect to your kids. It's so interesting to learn about how kids learn. When a child is learning a language, they often mimic, repeat what they hear, and learn different words in different areas of the home and the world to form their language. We should always communicate in ways that are respectful, kind, and with nothing but love toward our children. All a child wants is to be heard, loved, and feel like they are respected in their home. Remember, parents; you run the home and children; the children don't run the home and you, despite how it might sometimes feel.
While we begin to talk about communicating with a partner, you have to remember I'm divorced, single, and only talk to a select few people in my circle, so the advice I give, please, if you want, take with a grain of salt. I learned from my divorce about the areas I didn't communicate well, could have been better, said one thing over something, and where I could have been better. However, that is all in the past, and I'm happy we're co-parents now. While in a relationship, you must realize you are not the only couple that fights, has issues, doesn't always see eye to eye, and where things aren't always sunshine, rainbows, and butterflies. However, it would help if you learned from the disagreements, arguments, and fights and how to communicate through those together. I know, easier said than done. It's easy for me to be divorced and single to say that to someone in the opposite situation. I get it.
Here's what I want to do; I want to tell you the things I wish I would have done and will do in my next relationship to be better, indeed, better because that next woman deserves nothing but the absolute best from me, much like your partner, deserves nothing but the best from you. In lies Challenge Three, take it from the divorced guy that has learned from his mistakes and doesn't repeat them, and try these few things I'm about to tell you.
1) When you fight, argue, or disagree, you take your space, calm down, come back together, sit down, and talk about it. You talk about why you felt the way you did on the issue, explain why, and then the other does the same; you listen and find the compromise; you find the middle ground, and you forgive and grow together. The point is to fight and say everything, but then you calm down and think about what you said and what they said, and then you come back together and talk calmly. You talk about the why, how you feel, and why, and apologize and truly forgive your partner.
2) You be transparent; you don't have anything to hide; why would you want to hide your feelings, emotions, traumas, insecurities, and all the other things from someone who genuinely loves and cares about you? Does that make sense to you? When you feel triggered, upset, or anything that's a purely emotional reaction, stop, assess, and ask your partner to talk and open up, and don't be afraid to do so.
3) Commit to being a team. Gents, it's highly likely at one point in time, you were on a team, and you had to communicate plays, counts, or something with your teammates, and you likely have a friend or two, still to this day, that was a teammate of yours at one point. Why not take that same commitment to a teammate, and apply that to your relationship? When you commit to being a team, you engage on a deeper level and communicate even the small things you notice about the home, kids, and self to each other. You are committed to winning the relationship and making it work. Remember, teammates respect each other, build each other up, add the hype, and push each other to improve. Be the best teammate you can be.
4) I love the number 4; that's my number, so you get four things I wish I had done differently and would do differently. The last one is to learn to speak each other's love language. First, you need to know yours. Google the five love languages quiz, take it and figure it out. Then, have a conversation with your partner, and ask how you can speak their love language to them to make them feel the most loved. I love physical touch. I like cuddles, hand holding, back rubs, thigh touching, and non-sexual touches, like hugs and grazes. I also love quality time, spending time together, and trying to be together and just be present. I'm okay and occasionally do what words of affirmation; please compliment me. However, I don't like gifts; I don't love acts of service because I'm independent. Don't expect your partner's love languages to be the same or for them to know how to speak them to you; learn theirs and put effort into showing your love in a way that is most meaningful to them. In addition, if you feel like you aren't getting the love you need from your partner: ASK, COMMUNICATE, tell them what you need and how you need it, and don't just assume they will do it cause they "SHOULD" know.
Let's wrap it up. I offered you three challenges, excellent advice( I'm biased), letting you know it is challenging to speak, go, and get professional help if needed; there is no shame. You aren't a burden; you aren't less for having a mental illness; you're nothing less because of these issues that likely aren't your fault. Become your best version for those who love and rely on you to be so. Do it for them if you won't start by doing it for yourself.
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