We live in a day and age where people have more access to information than ever. With the click of a button, you can find virtually anything you need. And with the click of a button, you can make someone’s day, share a special moment, ask for help, lend support or destroy any of those things and more. You can ruin a business, you can contribute to someone’s feelings of inadequacy, you can take all of the joy out of a special moment. We always have choices- we can make someone’s day or ruin it. Why do so many people feel the need to do the latter? This is incredibly sad and infuriating to me.
I’ve seen people I care about be forced to apologize for things they have no control over- in both little and big ways. Surely the fact that the webinar isn’t playing for you, but is for everyone else, must mean the problem is on your end, right? But, if I so much as say that, watch out. I understand your need to scream at me in a “room” full of people, so please, let me stop and address your problem while everyone waits.
You wanted to adopt the dog you saw on the lost & found page, don’t understand why a busy facility can’t take the time to call you when he/she is available or is going to rescue? By all means, please vent all over that page so everyone else who visits can jump on your “They suck” train. That’s super helpful to the other animals they house.
Put a facility in an impossible position when you donate used toys? By all means, take to the interwebz! Don’t get the answer you thought you should get? Keep going, avoid actually thinking about how the impact of your words might affect animals in need of homes, and most importantly, do not take personal responsibility for your behavior, because that would just be silly and weak and you need to win this one!
Have the opportunity to shame someone on a dating app? Go for it! Feeling like a winner by putting someone down definitely makes you a catch! Or a jerk. One or the other.
There have been many times where my fingers have hovered over the return or send keys. There’s many times when I have actually hit them and regretted it. I’ve also felt justified at times. The thing is: at this point, I am pretty good at spotting the difference. I know when I am doing it out of anger, out of revenge, out of sadness, caring, love, etc.
I am not actually advocating for people to keep their mouths shut when they have genuine concerns or issues, obviously. What I am asking is that before hitting the button, people actually consider the ramifications of it first, because the fact is, there is an actual human being on the other end. There are people doing jobs at shelters, people putting themselves out there trying to share information in webinars, people bravely trying to date, there are animals housed inside a building’s walls waiting for a new life, etc, etc.
I recently had 2 experiences in which I had to take personal responsibility- one was an oversight, the other was pure bad behavior on my part. In neither case did I feel weak or like a loser. I felt like an adult human who sometimes makes mistakes. And when someone gives me the same courtesy, I try to be gracious and forgiving. And if I don’t get the apology or courtesy, or all of my concerns are not acknowledged exactly the way I think they should be, I try to recognize that some things are out of my control, as hard as that may be at times.
Yes, I have written this blog in anger. I hope I don’t regret it. But, if I do? I hope I am brave enough to admit it.
Thanks to Thumper for the reminder. Being kind matters.