Over the course of this week, there has been a lot of discussion online, and I'm sure in many homes, about "the slap that was heard around the world". At the Oscar's a comedian was slapped by a well-known actor after making a joke that referenced the actor's wife. There have been many different perspectives presented on what happened, who should be blamed, and what should be done.
Here's my perspective and, a simple request. First my perspective.
Unkindness leads to escalation and further unkindness. All you have to do is look around and you can see that familiar cycle happening in so many places. Someone says something unkind, the other person's emotions take over, they takes offense, and then say, or do, something even more unkind back. Then the first person 'fires back' with something even more unkind. Unkindness simply fuels the fire of unkindness, until it seems like there's no going back. Eventually it may even be difficult to remember what the 'initial unkindness' was. Once a conflict is escalated and entrenched, it gets harder and harder to resolve.
The best thing is not to let the cycle start in the first place. Which brings me to today's request...Please err on the side of kindness!
What do I mean by this? Well, if you think that what you are going to say is going to hurt someone’s feelings, please don’t say it. Think about a different way to to let the person know how you are feeling instead. Don’t make jokes at others’ expense. If you aren’t sure how someone will react, don’t tell the joke. If you’re angry at a coworker or family member and you’re feeling like you want to lash out, take a time out…or put yourself in time out…until you are calmer. If you think someone did something wrong, and you feel like shouting at them and reprimanding them harshly, take a few minutes to calm down; then spend some time asking the person what happened, and why it happened, before you decide what to do.
Because here’s the thing: People are stressed, no one is perfect and life is complicated. And unkindness only leads to escalation and more unkindness.
Kindness can prevent the whole cycle from starting. So today (and every day), please err on the side of kindness!