“How we treat someone says more about us than it does about them.”
– Tessa Cason
The internet has taken the way we communicate with each other to a whole new level. Social media is how most of us connect these days, and interaction with others not only faster but also much easier to do. However, because there are so many more ways we can connect now, I’ve discovered (through discussions with several people but particularly in online mom groups) that one of our major online grievances are the same: there are so many extremely irritating and childish people out there with open access to the public online, who love to make their incessantly annoying voices heard. Loudly. Yes, you know who I’m talking about. That annoying know-it-all classmate from your graduating class who spews nothing but negativity on your feed; the racist uncle that you just can’t delete because you don’t want to get in trouble with the family. You know exactly who I’m talking about, don’t you? How is it that full grown adults can so easily forget the extremely simple yet crucial lessons we learned in elementary school, which should continue to be applied to our everyday lives? Although seemingly easy, I will admit there are certain aspects of this primary code of ethics that I still struggle with at times. I decided to make a small list, to remind both myself and everyone else of the simple rules we should remember from our youth. Perhaps you want to share this too – in case it slipped a few ‘select’ minds of those who are on your social media as well.
Think (and say) happy thoughts. In general – unless it is a positive or helpful comment towards someone – please don’t say it publicly. This includes useless comments like “Wow, you look tired!”, “That’s a really odd name for your baby!” or “Holy, looks like you got a really bad sunburn this weekend”. Yes Susan, I am aware that I look tired – I have two children under two, an anxiety disorder and haven’t slept properly in years. In other news, the sky is blue. You don’t need to be Captain Obvious and state passive aggressive facts. Unless it’s helpful and positive, just shush!
Don’t judge a book by its cover. I talk a lot about this in my 50 Shades of Cray post – we are supposed to learn as children that the outside isn’t as important as the inside, and this still remains true. Also with this, you can’t generalize or group people based on the color of their skin, the way they dress or what they own, etc. The nicest people sometimes have nothing, and the most rotten people can have whatever they desire. Don’t make assumptions based on outside looks. And don’t share articles that generalize races or religions or any group really. We are all the exact same on the inside. It’s just silly.
Share with others. Simple. This includes getting all riled up about the way our government helps those who have less than us. As I wrote about in my blog detailing our luck to be born in Canada, part of living in North America or other well developed countries means that we not only reap the benefits of our great nation, but we also share the gift of our comfortable lives and help others who are in need. If you don’t like it you could always go live in a 3rd world, war torn country for a little bit and tell us how that goes?
If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. PLEASE! Listen, I admit it – I chat privately with my girlfriends; we discuss a lot of stuff and yes, we gossip once and a while, privately. I’m working on that. And in the past, for sure I have said some nasty things to people, before I grew as a person – I am far from perfect, and still developing as a person immensely (Note: see how I admitted that right there? Was that so hard?!). But it’s never too late to change, and try to be a nicer and more compassionate person. So before you say something to or about someone, think of this: is it for sure true? Is it kind? Is it helpful to say out loud? If not – publicly, or to someone you don’t know that well? Don’t say it. Just don’t. Even people you do know – really, just keep it to yourself.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours. This is pretty self explanatory but includes people as well. If someone is in a relationship – leave them alone please. Be respectful and appropriate to someone you know is married, and the same if you are with someone. It’s just not nice. And in the literal sense – just do the right thing people. If you find a wallet on the ground, search for a name and call the owners. It isn’t yours to keep, and you know what the right thing is to do. Just be a decent human being and do the right thing.
Say sorry when you’ve hurt somebody. Why, why, why is this one SO difficult for adults to understand? If you do something that hurts someone – either intentionally, or if you didn’t meant to do it at all – just apologize, for crying out loud. Acknowledging a persons feelings and pain, even if you don’t get WHY it hurt someone, is just being logical, mature, and helps us move forward. There is nothing wrong with someone who makes mistakes, but there IS something wrong with a person who won’t acknowledge them. Just say sorry and move on, jeeze.
Treat others how you want to be treated. This is a majorly difficult one to execute properly I will admit, and I’ll tell you why. In the past I’ve had many people in my life whom I let dictate the way our relationship was going to be, based on their hurtful or detrimental behavior. If they were rude, I was rude. If they were passive aggressive, I’d throw it back 10 times more. But that’s not how this rule is supposed to work, is it? If you can master this skill then you are truly killing it in life. Because the moment we start treating others how WE want to be treated – not how they treat us – we can let go of our egos, our feelings of wanting to be “right” or treated a specific way, and just be content in the fact that we know we know done the right thing. We’ve been a good person, and if someone does’t reciprocate that, it’s not our fault – because we did the right thing, and that behavior is their issue, not ours. This is truly the most simple and difficult rule to follow, but such an enlightening step in life. When we can accept the apologies we will never receive and just move on and continue to be good people despite others behavior towards us, we’ve won in life. If everyone treated others how they wanted to be treated this world would be a pretty great place.
There are a ton of other ones I could list that are pretty simple and self explanatory – don’t hit others, say please and thank you, wash your hands after you poop, etc. My point is: keep it simple. We’re all adults and have been through a ton of life already; we know the rules deep down inside. Understanding them is simple; executing them is another story. But like I say all the time – I have faith in humanity, and know that there is way more good in the world than evil. People have so much potential, and I truly believe anybody can change for the better. There is such beauty in the simplicity of these rules we teach our children; basically telling them to be a nice people, and do the right thing. But really what we need to do is lead by example. Sometimes we just need a little reminder, and the truly smart and successful people in life are never scared or ashamed to find mistakes in their behavior, and always trying to self improve. So when it doubt, look at the world from a child’s eyes – open, nonjudgmental and innocent – and you will always make the right choice.