Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I pooh-pooh in your general direction!

It was a simple statement of encouragement. Offered by a friend to another in hopes of giving the recipient some much needed strength for they were looking at a task and finding it to be daunting. I can understand the genesis behind the comments, not because I know the commenter’s, but because I too have been stirred in the same pot.

It is easy to attack back, especially when one finds their particular beliefs attacked or downplayed by others. It is even easier to see one’s views as superior, propped up with logic and deductive reasoning to the point where one cannot believe the ignorance – nay – stupidity of those who have not come to the same understanding.

So we comment in ways that assumes either everyone believes as I do or you are worthy of my contempt. I am guilty of this too so far be it for me to call them out on this. But that’s what is wrong with discourse – it has lost its civility, its empathy, its bottom-line support of your right to think and do what fits best for you. And who can blame us? We attack each other’s beliefs, rendering them stupid or making light of them.

So I am faced with looking at a monster rearing its ugly head. Maybe I failed in my rhetoric, my rantings, my take on things, to convey the necessary criteria of valuing another person’s beliefs. To belittle someone’s comments simply because you have determined them to be insignificant in your own life was never my intention. “To each their own” I have always said. “But that’s not how they play!” will be their response. “They force it down our throats, change our text books, ignore the constitution – it’s not to each their own – it’s always their way!”

OK, so let me be clear, let this be my new mission statement for everything I say and do from now on: “First do no harm.”
  1. Are my comments designed to belittle or make a point for consideration?
  2. Am I attacking the individual or their actions?
  3. Will they be better served if I took away their belief system?
  4. Can I differentiate between a true believer and a charlatan?
  5. Will my comment serve a purpose other than making me feel righteous?
My mom always told me “if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all.”

It was just a simple statement of encouragement – nothing more.

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