Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Stop Jumping, You'll Wear Yourself Out

It’s strange, my beloved reader, how my blog life works.  I have this list of things I need and want to write about.  Topics that range from The Sacrifice of Happiness, to Optimistic Branches on a Pessimistic Tree, even The Positive Influence in a Negative World (look for all of these …eventually).   However, it seems that almost every day something new is added to the mix, and it’s my duty as a writer to prioritize what to write about.  Then come my lunch hour I get the honor of writing for you. 

As a dear friend pointed out to me today, it seems there’s an uptrend of behavior that is, at the least, disturbing.  Lately (or mayhap I have only been noticing it lately) people have been jumping to conclusions or their own “personal truths” much faster than usual.  With all this jumping, you’d think we, as a society, would be in better shape!  You see, when someone hears something (a rumor, half a story of something that has happened, or even an outright lie) they immediately draw their own conclusions, and get PISSED OFF at whatever it is.  They are ready for a fight, they want to punch someone, kick someone’s ass, protest the government, whatever the case may be. 

While a part of me admires the fact that people are quick to defend their friends and what they may perceive as a ‘wronging’, it’s disheartening to know that people don’t care about the truth when doing so.  Moreover, it saddens me to witness the fact that they will immediately jump to violence to solve the situation.  This, kittens, is how people end up dying; when we start rationalizing the concept that violence is an acceptable answer to a problem.   

Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.  Someone posts a new status on Facebook (let’s be honest, everything is on Ye Ol’ BookFace these days):

Poster: “OMG.. I just got chewed out by my boss at work, I’m crying and I’m so pissed off.” 

This, friends, is a valid Facebook post, and one we’ve all seen from time to time.  Everyone has had a boss that we don’t necessarily get along with.  And we love to post on Facebook in the heat of the moment; it’s therapeutic.  However, it’s the comments that follow that make my point. 

Friend A:  “What an asshole, I hope he finds himself in a dark alley tonight and gets the shit kicked out of him”

Friend B:  “Yea, tell me what alley – I’ll bring a crowbar with me and show him what it’s like to be hurt”

Friend C:  “ Seriously. What a jerk; hope he crosses the street in front of me, my “breaks may fail.”” 

Seriously people… why the violence?  Why not a supporting and understanding response?  Let’s continue, shall we?  

Friend D:  Holy Shit, I’m so sorry! What happened?  PS… are you free for ice cream therapy tonight after work?

Poster:  @Friend D:  Ice Cream therapy would be great; honestly, it was my fault and I deserved to be yelled at, I really screwed up a financial report that the Manager received and he was furious.  I’m so pissed off at myself for letting it happen, I can’t stop crying.”

AHHHH…there it is…the truth and most of the full story.   Notice that the only person the Poster responded to was the one that offered support and NOT violence (three and a half brownie points for the Poster for not giving into the violence).   Friends A, B, and C immediately jumped to the conclusion that the Boss was being unreasonable and assumed he should be hurt because of it.  Nowhere in the post did it say the Boss yelled, was verbally abusive, or unjustified in his discipline of his employee.  People just assumed it.   It wasn’t the case.  As you see, the Poster later detailed the situation a little better (probably after they calmed down a bit) and it turns out even the Poster themselves think the discipline was in order. 

This whole concept takes me back to something I learned in a workshop called The Energy Project.  It’s an excellent program, I highly suggest it if you ever get the chance to experience it.  The particular activity I’m referring to is “Fact versus Story”.  We LOVE to assume we know the whole story behind something when only a fact is provided to us. 

“Wow… some a&&h*le just cut me off in traffic, good to know he thinks he’s the only one who matters.  I should have forced him into the wall”   What’s the fact in this statement?  The person who wrote the statement was cut off in traffic.   The rest is a story made up to go behind the fact.  The other driver may not be an asshole, and I doubt he thinks he’s the only one that matters.  There are a variety of reasons he may have cut the person off:  maybe the person was in his blindspot, maybe he’s rushing to the hospital because his wife was in an accident and he’s not thinking straight, maybe he’s having a health issue.  Maybe the guy is a downright jerk and just cut someone off.  The point is, NOBODY but that driver knows the story behind the fact, so jumping to a conclusion doesn’t do anyone any good.  And resorting to violence (forcing what could be a multiple car accident) is NEVER the right response. 

So, kittens, here’s the bottom line:   rumors, half truths, down-right lies, and the like are NOT something to act negatively upon.  We are forever hearing something that we know may not be the entire story – so instead of immediately jumping to our own conclusion – why not try to find out more about the situation?  If that’s not possible, then offer support and help to in a positive and enlightened manner; it will be much more beneficial to everyone involved.   

Today’s personal challenge:  work on recognizing the difference between FACT and STORY.  Take a step back before you react to something, and react with compassion and understanding instead of anger and violence; you may be surprised the responses you get. 

Much Love

Be at peace with yourself and you’ll be at peace with the world

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