We live in a world populated by flawed humans. Some people are more compassionate than others, smarter than others, or have a bigger moral compass, but none of us are perfect. When dealing with people for any length of time it’s inevitable to face situations that require us to decide if we should address a certain issue or zip our lips and overlook.
I find it’s usually best to overlook. If someone behaves badly it’s often better to just “let it go” since addressing some things can be counterproductive. And yet there are those times when we should say something.
Some people hate confrontation so much they flee at the hint of it or resort to dishonesty to escape it. Others seem to live for drama and if annoyed become nastier than the person who wronged them. I don’t like either of these.
I’ve learned over the years in dealing with people, two particular “rules” I try to follow. I’m not always successful, but I try, and I’ve found that if I do these two things it’s easier to live in peace.
- Be honest.
- Be kind.
Does that sound too simple? It’s not as easy as it looks. Think about it.
We all know honest people, those brutally frank “tell it like it is” types who believe people should just accept them as they are and if we don’t like what they say, too bad because that’s who they are! They think they’re doing well by being honest, but in expressing it they lack compassion. Let’s face it, truth without kindness can often hurt.
Other people are incredibly sweet and hate confrontation so much they will say whatever they think people want to hear whether it’s true or not. These types are often popular at first – until people discover that they lied. And, the truth does come out.
To be both honest and kind is a challenge. For one, if we have to confront someone we may not be feeling too happy with them. The fact we’re having to address something means they’ve done something undesirable, possibly offensive. On the other hand, if we have to confront a person we’re attached to, we run the risk of not being honest enough just to appease them. That’s not always the best because there are times people need to be told the truth.
A rule of thumb for me is to ask myself am I confronting a person because I want to fix a situation, or am I doing it because I’m angry and want to hurt them? If it’s the former, I try to nip things in the bud, framing my words tactfully. The point of the confrontation is to repair things, to put things right to be able to go forward in peace. If it’s the latter, I try to bite my tongue. Motives make all the difference.
What brought this on? Thinking about the people I’ve encountered in Second Life over the years. It may sound silly, but I actually care about people, even those I don’t know well yet. The idea of people coming to my virtual place and feeling welcome is one of my main Second Life goals, not because I want anything from anyone but because I imagine myself in that person’s place. I have a tight knit group of friends, but want new people to feel just as welcome as those who have been there for years. I thoroughly dislike cliques that make others feel excluded, and so I try to be as welcoming as possible to everyone.
There have been times I’ve needed to confront new people on certain behavior. Other times I’ve had to talk to old friends! The purpose was to make things right though, to move forward in peace so things could be even better than before. It’s not always easy and I’ve certainly had my share of screw ups, but I really do try to be honest and kind.
That’s my thoughts for this morning….