A friend of mine (who is always well-intentioned and sincere and I love her to death) was concerned about posting a blog which was a difficult subject to begin with, and was something she hadn’t personally experienced, but wanted to show support for another friend who had. I had left this comment for her…
“There is nothing worse than having someone stand there and try to tell you something that they know nothing about and have never experienced themselves. you just want to scream or throw things or laugh maniacally. i sat thru a series of workshops today where some of the presenters admitted right up front they didn’t have much experience with the topic, and my initial reaction is to totally tune out and think about what i want for lunch or how i would have paired different shoes with that skirt she’s wearing.
“That said, there are about equal amounts of times when you do listen to someone who admits to not being an “expert” and you learn something any way. everyone comes to the table with a unique perspective and if they are being honest people will always have something to contribute, even if it’s “simply” advocacy or more questions to think about. i would never tell someone else to limit their comments or words or blogs to what they have personally experienced but to those things that are near and dear to their hearts. when you speak from the heart people cant help but listen and maybe hear something they need to hear. so thanks for your willingness to share and reflect on a tough topic.”
I think being an “expert” on a subject matter (or the SME as the cool kids say) can be somewhat misleading. For some of us, having a personal experience in something makes you anything BUT an “expert” because you are so closely intwined with the thing, that you cant see the forest for the trees, so to speak. Sometimes, it takes years and sometimes a lifetime, to really get subjective and objective thoughts into any recognizable form of communication with other actual live people.
and sometimes so-called “experts” may know exactly how to do something, or may have excellent knowledge and a firm grasp on a subject, but be terrible communicators. Or not really know any other way to communicate that knowledge if their primary method fails. And suddenly you have this situation where everone is frustrated and absolutely no learning or healing occurs. One example I can think of is my high school physics teacher who was probably a genius but dude, could he just not teach at all?! It was horrific and I am shocked that I remember anything. Well, mostly I remember principles of inertia, but that seemed fairly practical to me.
Anyway, all that to say that I am always happy to hear from people who have no “good” reason to say anything. Often enough, I get more out of that than hearing from someone who has lived it. Getting out of your own head, and finding out that there are plenty of people out there who support, advocate, seek to understand, and speak out for you and all those like you, goes a really long way to getting free.
So thanks, Judith! You know I heart you 🙂