What Effects Can These Things Have?
In the past I have experienced many moments of insanity – allowing myself to get involved in heated discussions using cross words, sometimes leading to horrible consequences. Yet, each time, I would say to myself – “I will learn from that and not make the same mistake again.” We’ve all been there, right?
Every time I allowed myself to get into one of those awful situations of starting an argument or adding to one, words would be spoken in anger, and judgement would be passed. Over and over again, the same cycle would continue. The major fallout would follow shortly after with the whispers – he said, she said etc. and before you know it other people have been caught up in the mess and more bad words and judgement have been passed.
By the end of it - all you have left is a bunch of unhappy people wondering around misinformed and hating for the wrong reasons. Even if they don’t know it, these same people will now be feeling more negative than they were before, because whatever bad words that were spoken or poor judgments passed – each will have left a lasting scar.
You may be nodding in agreement at this point? Because let’s face it, every single one of us has been guilty of using a poor choice of words at some point in our lives, or passing judgement without fully understanding the situation – wouldn’t you agree?
Allow me a moment now to share with you a recent experience which may demonstrate just how damaging choosing the wrong words can be. Also, look out for the RED FLAGS AND TIPS – as these may just help you (and will serve me well as a good reminder) the next time we find ourselves in one of these horrible situations. Oh, and please don’t judge – I am sharing my experience with you, knowing full well that on this occasion, I made every mistake possible, even though I’ve taught myself differently over the years - but hey, I’m still only human, I slipped up.
So, a minor argument had begun between myself and another over something quite silly. In my opinion the other person was at fault as they hadn’t communicated with me properly over a certain situation, which ultimately had left me in a bit of a tight spot. I tried several times to relay this, but my words were falling on deaf ears.
RED FLAG – This was my first mistake. I was so adamant at this point that I was in the right that I hadn’t really given much thought to the other person’s opinion of the situation. Even if I was right, I still hadn’t thought about their reaction.
TIP – In these moments, take a deep breath (or two). When feeling calmer, take a few moments to try and understand the other person’s opinion – you may not agree with it – but by trying to understand it may make a difference to how you chose to respond, hopefully defusing the situation.
As I wasn’t being heard properly during the conversation, I later chose to send a message via text, (while my emotions were still running high.)
TWO RED FLAGS – I attempted to get my point across via text. I was determined to be heard. I figured that at least by text I could say exactly what I wanted without any interruptions. Plus, by this point my anger had reached nearly boiling point. Surely it would be better than screaming down the phone?
TIP – STOP…MOVE AWAY FROM THE MOBILE PHONE…MOVE AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER…MOVE AWAY FROM ANYTHING THAT YOU CAN WRITE ON AND PRESS SEND INSTANTLY. Like spoken words, once something has been written and sent, it cannot be taken back. Even when you are in a good mood or sharing something positive, you cannot expect the receiver to feel the same as you while reading plain text. It is very hard to be able to express real feelings of any kind over a text message, email or the like. Even the most skilled Author will tell you that their biggest challenge is creating the “right feeling” or the “right emotion” at the right moment within their work. Therefore, it is a bit of a deluded idea that we could conquer that challenge in a text or email etc. Yet as humans, we are more than likely to make this mistake over and over again - unless we break the cycle. When your emotions are running high, you’re feeling ready to explode, or your mind is full of negative thoughts… walk away. Put down the phone, move away from the laptop. In the instance that you just need to write it down, do it, then sleep on it, then go back to it the next day. You could even ask a trusted friend or colleague to take a look at it and ask them what their feedback is. Once you’ve slept on it and got a second opinion you will be ready to make a rash decision on whether you still want to send it. I bet the answer will be no?
My text message went on and on. It was filled with jargon about how their actions had made me feel, the situation it had now put me in, how angry it had made me… blah blah blah. Quite frankly, reflecting on the whole thing now, I’m surprised they even reached the end. However, I felt at the time I was making some valid points and I had tried my hardest not to make it personal. I believed I had put blame on the situation and not on them directly.
RED FLAG – I thought, I believed, I tried, I, I , I…
TIP – Simple, don’t send messages when you’re writing with your emotions instead of your rational mind. When you write with your emotions, it is very hard, if not impossible, to think of the other persons thoughts, opinions, feelings, reactions or any possible consequences. NEVER EVER WRITE WITH YOUR EMOTIONS.
My message had ended up being sent with nothing but emotional jargon attached to it. Neither of us had had the opportunity to think things through, so, obviously the response I received was not quite what I was expecting. I’d kinda convinced myself that once they knew exactly how they’d made me feel, they’d apologise and everything would be OK! Oops…
RED FLAG – The assumption was that only I had been affected by this situation. I assumed that because my opinion was right, then they’d have to fix everything.
TIP – Assumption is the Mother of all …… ups! Hmmmm - Never assume anything when there is more than you involved with any situation. We are all individuals that think independently with our own views and opinions. Potato / Patato – The same thing can be viewed very differently from different peoples perspective. That’s not to say that we have to just roll over and give up on something we feel passionate about, but it does mean that it would be wiser to choose your arguments. You could ask yourself these few questions – 1) Did anyone come to any harm? 2) Have there been any financial loses? 3) What’s the worst that can happen? 4) Is it worth losing sleep over? If you can answer no to all of these questions, then it’s a safe bet the situation is definitely not worth an argument. If there are some minor issues (example only here): “The worst that can happen is that I may have to go elsewhere for the help I was looking for.” In that instance, my next question would be: 3a) Would there be any problems attached to looking around for other options? Of course not. In the long run it’s actually a good thing not have all your eggs in one basket. If something is broken, you cannot assume that one person will fix it. You are your own fixer first and always – there is always other choices and options.
At the time when I had received my reply I was a little dumbfounded. It was nothing like I was expecting. I must admit, as I began reading my heart began racing. I realised that things had quickly got out of hand. As I reached a certain point of the reply, about half way through, there were these few words that cut through me like a knife. (Please forgive me for not sharing the exact words with you, I am trying my best to keep this written in a way that it could be about anybody, as to not cause any further issues or offence. I just wanted to reach out through a perfect example to you and others, to offer an opportunity to learn from my mistakes, and my tips – of how I would normally try to deal with these type of situations.)
By the time I had reached the end of the message I felt awful. Completely and utterly wiped out. One sentence – a few words - had not only made me realise how little this person actually knew me, but they had also passed judgement on me as a person at a very personal level. All my fears of not being good enough came flooding back like a tsunami – crashing against every inch of my being. Without being too dramatic, it basically felt like I’d been slammed to the floor. The tears ran thick and fast, my mind swirled. LAST FEW RED FLAGS AND TIPS TO FOLLOW AT THE END…
Without realising it (I’d like to think), the other person had managed to hit a real sore point. A big part of my life has been spent believing I wasn’t good enough, and although I have done many things to help myself to learn, and practice ways of being able to live a more confident and happy life, with a few words, this person had managed to reignite my fears. Thankfully, this was only temporary as I have learnt to rationalise things a bit quicker these days! It’s because of my own experiences, like this and many others that I wrote The Secret in the Rainbow, because I want to help children realise that they are good enough. Anyway, getting back to the subject. As I was saying, it wasn’t a hundred percent the fault of this other person, but, the biggest mistake on their part was that they became personal and passed judgement without truly knowing me or understanding me as a person.
RED FLAGS – The whole thing became too personal. Words and judgement was used against me personally, and not on my actions or choices. Too much emotional jargon was used from both sides. Pride, ego and anger took over rational thinking – had the whole thing been slept on, or discussed with a trusted, unbiased third party, would the outcome likely to have been the same?
TIPS – Remember, it doesn’t matter how much we think we know someone, everyone will be fighting their own demons. Nobody reaches adulthood without knocks and bumps along the way – and what may seem insignificant to one person, could be life changing to another. We do not have the ability to see the paths that others’ have walked to get to where they are today, so therefore we shouldn’t judge. We do not have the ability to know what triggers could possibly send someone into a downward spiral, therefore we should practice and demonstrate compassion, and empathy. We do not know what goes on behind closed doors, therefore we should offer kindness and understanding. We do not really know everything about anyone but ourselves, therefore we should keep learning and allow room for growth.
“Once words have been spoken, or judgement has been passed, it cannot be taken back. An apology can be made, but that is simply placing a plaster over a scar that has now been created.” T.Clark
Thank you for taking the time to read this extremely long blog. I hope you found it useful.
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