In the past few days, I’ve seen some pretty poor displays of character in public forum. Rather than point fingers and say this person is wrong or this one is right, I think there is one big lesson that is sometimes easily forgotten when emotions run high. Respect.
Sure, it can be a vague topic, but in actuality, it all comes down to one main focus…not being a total jerk when you get mad about something. Ok, maybe that’s not as eloquent as I could have been, but you get it, right?
Emotions can often get the better of us. Anger and jealousy being the biggest culprits. It’s easy to attack others with hurtful words when we let these feelings overwhelm us. It’s ok to be angry and it’s perfectly normal to feel jealous. But, when you go after others to make yourself feel better, you only make things worse. Think about the last time you lashed out at someone. Did it make you feel better? Did it solve the problem? Probably not. Not only were you still upset, but now someone else is, too.
When you do this in a public forum such as Facebook, Twitter, or even out in a place like a restaurant or other venue, you leave it up to others to be able to judge your character based on this one outrageous incident. You might normally be a great person, but who would know? Insulting people you know, or don’t know, just to express something doesn’t solve the issue.
So, let’s fix it.
1) Know who you are angry with. Snapping at your friends, family or the cashier at WalMart is misplaced emotions. Beware! The person you are mad at, may be you.
2) Think before you speak. If you are speaking with someone, wait a few seconds before reacting to determine if they are trying to be hurtful or helpful. You may have misunderstood them.
3) Don’t point fingers at people you don’t know. You may only have one little glimpse into the life of a person on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Accusing someone based on one or two comments is like calling someone a bad dresser when they had to run out to the store after a session at the gym. You don’t know them. Two lines and a picture don’t give you a window to their soul. It gives you a Polaroid of one day.
4) Stop to consider the consequences. Do you have any idea what is going on in another person’s life? You had a bad day and feel fed up. Maybe their day was worse. Maybe they have less than you do to be thankful for. You may have just incited a domino effect as they might be rude to the next person they speak with because you have needlessly ruined their day.
5) Look in the mirror. Do you have any blame in what is going on? Are you so busy yelling at someone else that you forgot that part of this is your fault?
The basic lesson here is that when you feel enraged about something, think before you open your mouth. Consider what the result may be if you encroach on someone else’s happiness. If you can manage to take a few deep breaths and ponder what might happen, you will have the fortitude and the good sense to prevent someone else from being an innocent victim of your wrath. And you just might save your reputation, as well.