Can’t we all just get along? It’s a question humans have probably been seeking an answer to since we were first conceived. The answer? Well, maybe.
It seems as though there’s always something worthy of standing up for. A cause. An event. A situation. And sure, it’s important to be able to speak our mind. But when, where, what, why and how is the right time?
In the face of perceived injustice, it’s easy to fall into righteous indignation. But as I was recently reminded, two wrongs don’t make a right, but then again, two lefts do. So whatever are we to do?
Sometimes in the throes of injustice we need to sit back and think on it. I suggest that one of the most powerful weapons we have in our arsenal is peer review. That’s to say, before you go popping off at the mouth, I highly suggest running it by the folks who are on your team: the ones who have your back and for the most part share your viewpoint and/or struggle.
Sometimes we’re too close to a situation to see the forest for the trees, and everything seems monumentally painful and like it absolutely needs addressed right now. One way we know this very well may be the situation is when we feel a strong emotional charge.
Learning to be able to detect our own emotional charge takes some practice and patience, but our body shows telltale signs. These can be anything from sweaty palms, a racing heart, headaches to clenched teeth. But they could also be a feeling of doom and gloom, sadness, or madness.
Those signs are your body’s warnings that your mouth (or typing fingers) might do something they’d later regret. In the practice of mindfulness, we learn the difference between being reactive and responsive.
Reacting is a gut trigger. An impulse. The first thing that comes to mind, as the thing to do, while responding is much more calculated. When we’re being responsive rather than reactive, we take the time to process, marinate on it, and become keenly aware of how it is that we actually feel.
Oftentimes we find that when we slow down and make the conscious decision to respond rather than react, the situation doesn’t call for any response at all. Not to mention we’re much less likely to do something that we feel compelled to apologize for later. It takes a deep level of maturity to get to the place where we don’t need to be seen as right or the victor or to belittle our opponent.