Listening in on TEDxUWO live stream today, I was able to listen to Chris Bentley speak on some of the issues facing First Nations today in Canada.
I was very happy that he was able to speak about this, yet disappointed to read some of the comments coming in under the livestream feed. One comment had said:
We are still blaming residential school policies? That was years ago.
What some people don’t understand is that the problems that were created because of Residential schools, are inter-generational. What does that mean? That means they are passed down from one generation to the next. What does this mean for young people? They have nobody telling them, what is happening to you, is not your fault.
Just recently, I started to get help for some of the things that I experienced in my life. Some of these things made me angry for a long time. I didn’t know how to handle this anger and I didn’t know why I was angry. I remember one of the things my mom told me growing up was, “Depression is unresolved anger.”
The first time I tried to commit suicide, I remember the doctor asking, “What’s wrong? What happened?” I told him, “I am angry. I don’t know what to do.” I know one thing for sure is that I never really wanted to actually die, I just wanted to escape my pain. I was angry because I was hurt, and I didn’t know how to deal with it.
This doctor didn’t listen to me. He just said, “You can’t be angry. People who are angry, don’t do what you did. You must be sad.”
I was even more angry. I couldn’t channel this anger anywhere but further inside me. I was angry because nobody was listening to me. Everyone around me kept telling me what was wrong with me, how I should be feeling, and what I was thinking. I just wished the people I was talking to actually listened to what I was saying.
I believe that people don’t listen enough. Everyone keeps talking about what needs to be done, what has to happen, but nobody listens to the people that they want to help. If you want real change to happen: Listen to what those people are saying. If you want to really help someone today, listen to what they are telling you. There can be a lot more done when you listen. Wanting to be part of change, involves listening to those you want to help.