Social interactions form a major backbone of our lives. Without them, we (humans) would go crazy, my introverted self included. While they are necessary, they can bruise or hurt others, like myself, easily. Ever since I was young, I have always shrunken into a little ball, like a turtle without a shell, thanks to others’ way of treating me. I was a serious, innocent young child put into a daycare full of careless, rowdy children whose actions amounted to horseplay between them, but bullying for me. “Telling the teacher” seemed to be an effective countermeasure… until the teachers were unable to handle the bullies. Did my parents care? I’m sure they tried to do many things to help me, but to them (and everybody else), I seemed to be too sensitive. I would have liked to see my bullies disciplined, but that would cause trouble among the bullies and the daycare administration, and that was apparently worse than me being bullied. It is the dilemma between “sucking it up” and being scarred for life or going through immense trouble to rectify sore points.
I don’t know if there was an intentional ploy orchestrated by my parents to give me an early exposure to bullying, because it sure seemed like I needed this dagger in my heart. (I would get it sooner or later; it is a part of life.) Either way, the effect stands before you today. My brain, while recently starting to move towards rationality (as my frontal cortex (?) matures), finds it paramount to always empathize with others’ feelings regardless of logic or reasoning. We are humans, and sometimes, sole logic and reasoning is too much to handle. Oatmeal is great for you, but its bland, unappetizing taste can be sweetened with honey. In this case, a mixture or combination gives the best of both.
Today, I see others place heavy emphasis on rational thoughts among their intellectual discourse, but this comes at the expense of our emotional appeal. Coarse, blunt rhetoric can be seen everywhere. Some remarks, blabbered by uneducated adults, simply use ad hominem attacks as a child would. Others utilize cogent logic that critically fails to respect others’ emotions. My eyes and my heart shrivel whenever I identify such depressing, hurtful rhetoric. I cannot help but cringe at these comments. I remember memorable charged rhetoric and especially its effect on me. I am hurt by what painful rhetoric I unwillingly remember; I am branded by it. And I wonder: if others had considered the resulting feeling of others, wouldn’t that make a world of difference?
Today, I emphasize keeping comments respectful and free of offensive, provocative language. While I have bad days, just as anybody does, I will eventually get around to correcting myself. I believe it is imperative to avoid offending others. I also cannot accept any hate speech or harassing comments, as one who cannot capture the hearts of others, instead injuring them, has no need to share their ill-fated words to anybody. Some lament the need to be politically correct because they are tired of suppressing their thoughts in exchange for others’ comfort. Their solution for sensitive people is to be “less offended,” and my response is that such an ideology proves to be ineffective. Everybody is different, but sensitive people should be respected and thought of, not tossed aside as inferiors, for we all have our diverse possibilities of “weak points” to our hearts, and as a general rule of thumb, should be careful to accidentally tread on them. We should make every effort to respect others the way we would want to be respected. Treat others the way you want to be treated. That is the “Golden Rule,” which has been proven time after time. If one is tired of being politically correct, they are tired of being selfless. And while that is understandable, at least keep selfish interactions to oneself, so that others will not be accidentally injured by charged words.
Today, I try to reflect my philosophy in my comments. Every time I write charged rhetoric, I feel a small voice of empathy warn me: others may not be so happy with my words. And I will tone down this charged rhetoric into more palpable, soothing rhetoric. My “voice of empathy” filter is far from perfect, but its installation in my soul is absolutely important for me to keep, or make, others happy with some positively or neutrally-inclined words. I hope you will understand what I feel, and try to focus your rhetoric not solely on the rational, but also on the emotional. Please, consider others’ feelings before saying things. It can mean the difference between a joyous day and a depressed day. And if you cannot consider others’ feelings when you speak, at least apologize after you’ve realized it. Thank you for making the world a better place.