Monday, April 23, 2018

Verbal Shock & Awe

This morning while I was waking up and listening to the radio, the story was that Shania Twain was asked who she voted for in the presidential election. Unlike so many people, she simply answered, that she can't vote as she's not American, but she would have voted for President Trump. Of course, you know this lead to a barrage of hateful social media posts to and about her. The radio personality was noting that as a country we have become too sensitive, and need to worry less about who feels what and learn to agree to disagree. This took me on a mental adventure of thoughts ranging from, is it that we are too sensitive? or is it something more? 

Through the generations, our world is continually changing, advancing and in an effort to make things easier, we have instead complicated them. The internet and social media platforms have made this world very small, smaller than it's ever been. The general public seems less concerned about etiquette and good manners and more concerned with tossing their two-cents in the many global conversations happening all at once. A sense of self-importance has replaced caring about the impact of our words on others, it just seems that people don't care who they hurt, they only care that they were able to speak out and say their piece. And to what end? As a younger woman, I was one to say things that would make others blush or take notice, call it verbal shock & awe. I saw this as things simply being what they are and why should we be afraid or ashamed to talk about them. I still believe that, and today as an older (and I hope wiser) woman, there is a time and place to discuss certain things. Again, good manners, using a little forethought and taking responsibility for the energy I bring to the room and how that energy will impact the people I'm with.

Mason and I were discussing this on the way to school and he asked me how he would know when the right time and place are to speak up. I'm so glad he asked!! And therein lies the answer - has someone asked for your opinion? If they have not and you feel you have something constructive to offer, ask yourself, why do I want to chime in with this information? Will it help make things better or do I just want to say it to make myself feel something? If it will make the person I am communicating with feel bad or there is nothing they can do about this situation right now, maybe it is better to discuss it at a later date when they can take some kind of action moving forward.  Is this best handled privately and not on the public stage? And the answer to that last question will almost always be, "Yes!"

Ultimately, careful conversations and thoughtful communication are always going to be the best course of action. One of my dearest friends reminds me not to presume others want to hear what I think or feel about their lives - and she's so very right! Even in our most intimate relationships, we do not know all of the bits and pieces that make up who and how people are, what has influenced their decisions or more simply stated, we have not walked even two steps in their shoes. If we are asked to share our insight, what a compliment that is! And with that message that someone else thinks enough of you to want your opinion or advice, well then isn't that something special? I think so!

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