This will not, I repeat, this will not be a man bashing blog. There will be no bashing or judgment going on here at all. Women the same holds true for you if you’ve ever begun a sentence with: ” All you men….”
This blog was inspired by a lovely dinner I had this weekend with mixed company. My dear dinner companions, and you know who you are, I did warn you that our conversation would make great blog material. In fact, I really think the topic is pretty universal. It’s about how we all tend to generalize, especially about the opposite sex. I’ve done it, and chances are if you are reading this and smiling…well you’ve done it too. You’ve begun a sentence with, ” All you women/men….” followed by ( bla bla bla) the point you wanted to make to the other person.
I am not here to say that generalizing is necessarily wrong, but I do want to share an insight I had about when you or I generalize about someone else. When we do generalize, there is more in it for us then for the person we want to make our point to. So when I titled this blog, three words you should not begin a sentence with I would like to add…if you don’t want me to point an awareness spotlight on you for using them.
With that said, I will continue on with my story.
We were a lively group of men and women sharing great food, drinks, and fun conversations. At some point in the night, one of the guys began a sentence with, ” All you women…” and then he proceeded to share his observation about women, love, and relationships.
I noticed the tone of his voice change, and the expression on his face went from happy to angry and frowning as he shared his observation about women and relationships. As he spoke, some of the women became slightly defensive, their voices raised as they responded to him with ….” All you men…” and they countered with their own observations and opinions about men, love, and relationships.
It became a friendly, and then again not so friendly exchange between this one guy and two of the women. Knowing that I write a blog called Share Your Love Story he turned to me and asked me if I believed in true love. “Funny you should ask,” I responded , because I recently had written a blog that contained a poll with that very same question. My response in fact, confirmed some of what this guy had said in regards to women and relationships.
My confirmation of his generalization about ” all you women” did not make him happy even though I had indeed proven his point. His response was more in the sarcastic tone of, ” There you go….ya see what I mean?!” At this moment I was smiling inside and could not help myself to jump on him a little because an awareness and this blog material was swirling in my head and I wanted to get it out.
I became aware that although he was correct with his generalization, he wasn’t happy about it. In fact, he was angry about everything he said after the three words: all you women. I pointed him to that fact, and told him I was more interested in how he felt about what he had just said about all us women. This is where the nugget of gold is contained for him if he chooses to see it. It lies within his own feelings and beliefs about his own generalization.
I’ve learned to pay attention to my emotions. Whenever I have begun a sentence with the three words, all you men, if I am honest with myself , rarely was I making a statement that the emotions behind it were not mild irritation, even somewhat angry, and based on some type of insecurity on my part. Rarely was my generalization about something that made me happy, it was often to make a point about something that bothered me down inside. My generalization was my way of making myself ‘feel better” because I was right about what I said.
Now, if I hear myself begin to utter these three words I immediately focus on the emotion that is surfacing. It’s all about me and really has nothing to do with them. I recognize and accept the irritation and insecurity that is surfacing, and I don’t have to be governed by it. This is so freeing for me and I find myself less and less needing to generalize.
I’ve also found that when people generalize about me I’ve gotten less irritated. I don’t feel the ping of anger like I used to. I think it is because I am starting to realize that when they do this, especially if there is sarcasm or annoyance behind their words, what ever comes after the three words is really all for them and not about me. In knowing this, I have been able to be more understanding and less judgmental.
Do you ever find yourself beginning a sentence with, All you women, or all you men? The next time you do, pay attention to how you feel about the words that then follow. Even if your observation is spot on correct isn’t it more about how you feel than being right? Generalizing won’t change who you are generalizing about and when it really comes down to it, isn’t that what you want down inside when you generalize. You want the other person to change? I know I did, and wanting to change someone else is so dis-empowering.
Changing how I felt by being honest with myself and accepting that I felt that way in the first place was empowering, however. This is what has enabled me to then choose to release these insecurities, fears, and irritations that came up because they simply did not serve me and really only caused more drama and unhappiness in my life.
The bottom line about beginning a sentence with ‘ All you men/ all you women”…. There is nothing wrong or bad if you do this. In fact, thank yourself for the nugget of golden awareness you can discover about yourself when you do.