If you don't have anything nice to say...
People are mean. There I said it ....
Ok, I'm only half kidding.
What happened to the golden rule of "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all"? I guess it's in the 'back in my day' graveyard with pagers and payphones. But, honestly guys, this is one virtue I think we need to reclaim.
Somewhere along the line, we’ve abandoned our verbal filters and have gotten very comfortable saying (and typing) whatever comes to our minds under the guise of candor, humor, and free speech. Yes, we're entitled to all those things, but does it have to be at the exclusion of kindness + respect?
Lest we forget that it's completely possible - and reasonable - to express negative thoughts + feelings in a positive, constructive way.
Taking Advantage of Teachable Moments
My daughter came home a few weeks ago telling me about a not-so-nice something a classmate said to another student. Thanks to social media, TV, and just generally living among other humans, we’ve had a few of these conversations. And when we talk about meanness as a family, I tell my kids two things: 1. consider the source. Often, people who find satisfaction in saying mean things to/about others are miserable about something bigger (and probably masking it). 2. it’s not about you. When people are mean, it’s more of a reflection of how they feel about themselves than how they feel about you.
We've All Been Mean At Some Point
In full transparency, there are times when I've caught myself saying mean or unnecessary things. Let's live on Real St. for a minute and admit that we've all done it. These moments are few and far between for me personally, but it feels gross to be mean; and true to my earlier point, when I find myself behaving this way it's usually because I'm not feeling quite right about something within myself ... and someone else just catches the brunt of those ill feelings.
The best way to avoid making mean comments is to figure out why you're doing it in the first place.
I have a girlfriend who says people do things for one of two reasons – to hurt or to help. And she's mostly right. There’s power in our words – even the small, seemingly insignificant ones. Taking a millisecond to determine whether we’re using our words to help or hurt can go a long way in reclaiming and spreading the virtue of kindness.
Kind hearts, unite!
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