Please welcome Atina from "Harmony and All That Jazz."
Be sure to check out her blog, and leave her some love.
When I was little I learned this thing called the Golden Rule. I heard about it in church (two different churches that I frequented), at school, 4-H, my mom, grandmother and everyone else who was someone in my life. They didn't always say, "Hey, dipfart remember the Golden Rule", in fact more often it was a simple, "is that how you want to be treated?”
The concept is amazingly simple, and encompasses a wide range of concepts. Everything from thinking before you speak, kindness, parenting, personal relationships, all relationship in general, pet care, everything falls under the Golden Rule. If everyone, heck, even half of the population treated people the way they wished to be treated thing would have a better outlook. Part of the Golden Rule asks you to look at other side of the issue/story - to show empathy.
Not everyone, in the world is going to agree on aspects of life that is one of the joys of us all being different. If you disagree with someone, that is fine but treat those people with pleasantries. I'm not asking you to censor yourself; I'm asking people to see it from the other side, to simply ask themselves if they would want someone to talk to them that way. A fine example of myself knowing a time and place, I like, no I love the F word. I can throw out F bombs like folks throw candy at a parade. Oh, my love for the English language and its colorful descriptors, yet and that is a big YET, I know that certain people in my world, don't like the language, or find it rude/crude, so I put myself in their shoes and just don't use it around them. I don't think of it as censoring myself, I think of it as making my fellow folks happy or pleased, or more importantly comfortable.
Not every topic can be kept comfortable, but there is a difference between attack mode and education. I am all for education and information being shared, absolutely, even random and stupid information I love it all. What I don't like, is when people say, "I don't to that, only stupid and uneducated people do that". What was the point of throwing in the disses? What did that accomplish - nothing, except to alienate someone who could have learned something. The person you've just called uneducated is done listening to you, and could care less what else you have to say even if it could be beneficial. They aren't being close-minded, they are in fight mode now, and they are trying to protect themselves from the attack. Your comments, have put them on the defensive, so nothing will be accomplished other than a fight now. You'll walk away feeling cocky, because you can now say that, "of course they have issues with that decision, because they got all defensive". The other personal, you know the "stupid" one, walks away upset because they are just trying to be a good parent, and someone who doesn't know them just called them stupid. No one wins, nothing is accomplished with the fight, nothing. The same discussion can be had without the hurtful language, and everyone would leave having understood the other side better.
That's all I'm asking, is for people to think about others. Think about the tone of what you are saying, before you allow it to spill from your mouth, or keyboard. If you want to be brash, hateful or condescending then you are asking for people to treat you the same way in return. You need to treat people the way you want to be treated. Not just part of the time, but all of the time. I'm not trying to imply that I am perfect or great nor do I have this mastered, because trust me there is room for improvement. I often make snarky comments, but most often they are kept in my head. I apply this to all of my relationships, whether it is with people I know physically or online. Take a look at your marriage, would you want your significant other to do that, then why would you? Do you want your sister to treat your kid like that? Then think about how you treat her kids. Don't like how wild online discussions get? Then think about how you are saying things. Just think - that's all the Golden Rule requests.
If you judge your audience wisely, you will still be able to get your point across, and it will be a win-win for everyone.
By the way, there is a lot more I want to go into on this topic, but I think this will become a multi-part post. It is getting long winded, and I'm pretty sure you've got something else to do. ;-)