Sometimes we get caught in our own little bubble. Where we are the only ones who make sense to us. The problem is there are many viewpoints, ours is not the only one. Often times, there are multiple “right” ways.

I learned something here in prison about emotions and feelings. First of all, it does not matter what the emotion is, if the person is feeling it, its right…to them. Because they ARE feeling it, it came from somewhere, making it “right”…to them. We cannot diminish that they DO feel it. So often we try to change their mind that they are feeling some type of way. When in fact, we can’t. Because they do.

We do not have to understand a persons reasoning for feeling however they feel to give them understanding. What I have learned is that people shut down so fast when they feel like the other person(s) don’t understand them. It creates anxiety, confusion, contempt. 

To effectively help in any given situation we have to acknowledge the feelings involved and work from there. When someone says their feelings are hurt, don’t tell them they shouldn’t be. That’s your cue to change your wording or reevaluate what your saying altogether. In fact, that’s a great thing to say in response “oh, that wasn’t my intention, I apologize. Allow me to clarify.” No harm in that.

As LGBT family and fellow community members a little empathy does wonders for our environment. Its level of hostility and angst can be directly affected by your actions. Remember that. 

With Love
Jeff Utnage