There are those qualities that are admirable in all people. Being kind, well mannered, eloquent, etc. can all be qualities that we seek in our friends and loved ones. Honesty, is also something that we often seek from others; however, there are times when you wish people’s honesty would go hand in hand with respect and manners.
The other day, I went to the supermarket with my 2 and a half year old and 5 week old in tow. I was having some anxiety about all the things that could possibly go wrong: forgetting an essential baby item, tantrums, losing my mind, etc. While cruising through the aisles of the supermarket, I was approached by two different women who felt it necessary to tell me I looked tired and should try some home remedy that they both swore by.
Please keep in mind that while I packed my enormous diaper bag with all the essentials, made a grocery list for things I desperately needed, and finally, packed two children in my car, I never once considered how I looked or how the world would perceive me.
So here I am at the supermarket; blood boiling, children fussing, and some strangers sharing their unsolicited opinion. The first thoughts that entered my mind were of all the things that I had to do in the morning to make it to the supermarket and how it was a miracle I was even walking on just 2 hours of sleep. Suddenly, a feeling of anger began to take over in response to those comments and I had to act. I ignored the first lady and kept walking (after rolling my eyes), however, when the second lady contributed with her comment, I unleashed a combo response filled with sarcasm, rudeness and sass.
Although not my proudest moment, I still feel that people should keep their thoughts to themselves if they are considering approaching me or someone else with negative remarks. I’m not alone with this thought, right? I also learned a valuable lesson through this experience. I learned that to be honest, one does not have to be mean, or offensive. I am a firm believer that there is always a better way to express something. And that day at the supermarket, I was in charge of MY response and let my feelings take over and they showed.
How we treat others will always be how we invite others to treat us. It is essential to remember that our opinions and thoughts although valid, are not the norm. Nobody else needs to agree with our opinion of the truth. I constantly remind myself that everyone has the right to their beliefs, and also the right to change their minds. This is something that proves invaluable when communicating with others that are in your life.
Furthermore, considering that I cannot control what behaviors other people will engage in; I need to be more in control of my responses. There will always be people that upset you and offend you with their behaviors or remarks. However, your response can still be honest yet respectful. Instead of lashing out to the second person that made a rude comment, I could have provided some honesty in a more respectful way. This is also true to those friends, colleagues, family, etc., that ask you to be honest with them about something. Honesty, can be delivered with kindness, and support.
Even in the worst of instances, it will always be better to not say anything than to risk hurting or offending someone. Even when you are the offended party; your reaction will be good practice for emotional regulation and patience. Let’s face it, we all need a little more patience, kindness, and the good (well-mannered) kind of honesty in our lives. Let’s put patience and respect to practice.