Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Someone Called me a “Weirdo”
I put a video on Facebook last week during which I wore my giraffe ears and used the puppets. I received the following comment from someone I don’t know:
“Am I supposed to believe anything this weirdo says? Maybe he should put a clown nose on too.”
I have a number of choices how to take these words. The first two are the ones that I learned from our culture:
- Judge the speaker: “He’s thoughtless and inconsiderate.” or “Geez. Lighten up, man. I’m just trying to have a little fun!” or “Get a life, buddy.” In each instance I’m choosing NOT to see his humanity. This isn’t how I like to live.
- Judge myself: “I should stop putting videos online. I’m making a fool of myself.” or “The puppets don’t work. Why do I use them anyway.” This response triggers feelings of sadness and disappointment. I’m not too high on this way of living, either.
These response sap my energy so I want to explore other options…
Taking a Quantum leap into Giraffe-land
If I’m willing to take a giant leap into Compassionate Communication, I have the following NEW options:
- Guess at the other’s needs through Empathy: [Here I’m guessing since I have no way of knowing what’s going on in this person and I’m not confident that I can figure that out via Facebook]: I’m imagining he’s feeling uncomfortable when he sees the giraffe ears and puppets. Perhaps he’s wanting a sense of order or beauty around what he observes. Or maybe it’s a desire for familiarity or predictability. It could be that the ears and puppets are far out of the range of things he’s okay with. Now I begin to see his HUMANITY. This opens a path to connection.
- Connect with my needs through Self-empathy (my needs): Hmmmm. I feel a little surprised and a little disappointed. This is the first comment I’ve received that wasn’t “positive” so I wasn’t expecting it. And I want to connect with folks through my
work and it appears that the connection I desired didn’t happen with this commenter. I also realize that not everyone will enjoy what I offer and I want to be considerate of where they are coming from. And, I know that his reaction was based on HIS unmet needs so I want to explore those needs rather than taking it personally.
These responses leave me feeling energized and full!
Reflecting on this process, I feel excited because I want each of you to learn how Compassionate Communication works! Also, I am uncertain whether or how to respond to the comment. As I don’t have a relationship with the commenter and I find it very difficult to connect with anyone on Fb, I’m going to let go of my desire to respond and see what happens.