We need to be more cognizant of how what we say affects others

What is the worst insult someone has said to you? Stupid? Ugly? Fat? Perhaps something too vulgar to publish in this paper? For me, the worst insult I have ever heard is “perfect.” Odd insult, I know. Would you want to be called “perfect?” When I think of “perfect,” I think of Renaissance paintings, Greek statues and Egyptian pyramids. I think of all the things humans strive to reach but never obtain. I think of robotic, aloof and cold. To me, to be perfect is to be inhuman. That is why I weep for the people I hear called perfect. That is why I feel it is so important to be aware of how what you say affects those around you. Lately, I have heard people when joking with their friends say things that seem to upset someone in the group. Yet, that person just takes it silently.

I don’t understand how people can be so unaware of how what they say hurts another. Yet they can be painfully aware of something like my mother being dead to the point they get awkward and sad when she is brought up even though I’m fine. Why is it people are so severely aware of a topic that does not phase me yet are oblivious to the things that actually do? I think instead of being aware of how the people around us feel, we react how we would want them to react should the situation be reversed. 

The death of one’s mother is an upsetting topic. I have gotten used to her being gone, at least enough to talk and joke about it. Since early times, humanity has strived for perfection. I long for imperfections. I am aware that my way of thinking probably is not considered “normal,” however, my point still stands. We need to pay more attention to those around us and what we say to them. I have a few suggestions on how to do this.

“The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent,’” said Alfred Brendel, an Austrian pianist, poet and author. You have to listen to understand how others feel. Often people will ask questions but do not listen to the answers. To respect a person, you must understand what affects them. To learn what will affect them, you must pay attention. To pay attention, you have to listen.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform,” said Mark Twain. Do not just go along with what others say or believe. If you notice someone is bothered by the topic at hand, speak up. Think for yourself about others. What is considered okay is different for everyone. Do not be scared to respect those parameters when no one else will.

 

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 “I would rather be a little nobody than to be an evil somebody,” said Abraham Lincoln. It is okay to be the odd one out. Even if everyone else insists, “It’s okay, it won’t hurt anybody,” yet you feel otherwise, stand your ground. Do not cave in and say rude things because your best friend does it. If it makes you feel like a nobody to do that, go find better somebodies to be around. 

My point in all this is around campus and in life I hear people joking about things that from an outside perspective can only be seen as bullying. Maybe within that group of people it really is okay, but what if it wasn’t? There isn’t anything wrong with speaking up for people to make sure it’s okay. To do this we need to be more attentive, not get swept away by others’ thinking and speak up when no one else will

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Editor's note: All views expressed in The Lion’s Roar are those of the author or, if unsigned, those of the staff of The Lion’s Roar. These views should not be interpreted as the views of the administration, faculty or students of Southeastern Louisiana University.

Editor's note: Apr. 20 content edited for spelling.

 

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