Why I Am Sorry

I am a loud person. I have always been a loud person. I have spent most of my life being told I didn’t need to yell because the people I was talking to were right there. I am still told that at times.

I’m pretty sure you couldn’t grow up in my house and not be a loud person. Altsmans have thoughts. Lots of them. And we like to share those thoughts. And often, we like to share our thoughts at the same time as one of the other Altsmans is sharing their thoughts. So we interrupt. We talk over each other. We start sentences that never get finished. In our family, if you wait for a pause in the conversation, you will never get to talk.

When we’re sharing funny stories and everything is nice and light, this is fine. It makes things lively. We look like those families in commercials who are laughing and talking and enjoying a great holiday meal.

When we’re talking about things that are serious, though, it can become…tense. At some point, someone will yell “Just let me talk without interrupting me!” and we will all remember that we love each other and that it is better to listen to the person talking than to start planning your response before they even finish.

I say all of this to point out that when I feel unheard, I tend to just get louder. We all want, possibly even need, to feel heard. This is why humans drew on caves and told stories and created social media; we want others to witness our lives and hear our thoughts to reassure us that we do, in fact, exist.

Think about The Sixth Sense. How did some people know that Bruce Willis was dead before the final twist? Because no one else heard him. He was talking and feeling and doing, but no one was responding to him. He was dead. When people feel like they are not being hard, they have a lot of different ways they express that frustration. I express that frustration by getting louder, especially if I’m talking about something I’m passionate about.

Over the past few years, I have learned and changed a lot. I am a very different person than I was 5 years ago. And a lot of the things I have learned seem so obvious to me now that I cannot believe I didn’t see them before. Add to that being a teacher, and I find myself desperately wanting to explain the things that I’ve learned to other people.

Unfortunately, I do not always do that well. I thoroughly enjoy social media and honestly feel like the people I’m friends with on Facebook and follow on Twitter have taught me so much and greatly enrich my life. So I post a lot of things on Facebook.

But as the things I’ve posted have become a bit more controversial, I have gotten increasingly frustrated. Overwhelmingly, the people who respond to those posts already agree with me. Which is nice, and I like hearing their thoughts, but I very rarely get responses from people who disagree. When I do, I often feel like they are either not responding to what I’m actually saying, but rather to their own impression of what they think I’m saying, or dismissing it completely.

In short, I feel unheard. The things I’m posting about are important to me. They are ideas I want to spread, ideas that I feel need to be spread, ideas that I feel could change the world for the better. So when I feel like the ideas are not getting across, I get frustrated and angry. But this post is not titled “Why I Feel Unheard”; it’s titled “Why I Am Sorry.”

So here’s my confession: I have not handled this feeling of being unheard very well. I have believed the lie that I will be heard more if I shout. I have allowed my increasing anger and frustration to begin to turn to bitterness and to cause me to speak harshly.

I’m sorry.

I will not stop speaking. I will not be silent. But I will endeavor, through the grace of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, to speak with more gentleness and respect.

Please forgive me. Please be patient with me. Please show me grace.

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  • A collection of ramblings and musings on Jesus, life, education, family, and anything else that pops into my head.

    Twitter: @rachel_heather
    Email: raltsman@gmail.com
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