|Conversation by Sergey Solomko|
For the sensitive among us- the artists, ladies, gentlemen for whom a casual comment wounds deeply- who can not just shrug off the words of the world, it can be difficult to navigate the treacherous waters of the social world. Was that comment meant in jest? Or was it meant as a subtle insult? Did the turn in conversation reflect some commentary on my actions? Or was it innocent and we are, once again, over reacting? Seeing demons in the mist?
For those of us with cut glass souls, it seems as there are two options in dealing with the world. Either we wrap our fragile hearts in a deep cloak of cynicism and irony- allowing not even the sincere comments to penetrate. Or we remain open, vulnerable, and continually exposed to the slings and arrows of outrageous conversion.
|From Rttmsdag on Deviant Art|
First, assume beautiful intent.
The laws of physics create too many beautiful phenomenal for the universe to be malevolent. Look at newly discovered nebula, artistic renditions of common proteins, or the patterns carved into the sand by wind and water. Maybe these aren't inherently beautiful, but humans have found them so. In the same way, even if we can't apply the words good or bad to the universe entire, we can certainly choose to appreciate it as beautiful rather than ugly.
Applying this idea further, when meeting or interacting with people, assume they are being governed by the same laws of physics that created all of these glorious phenomena and are the best they can possibly be at that moment. Maybe you can't see it right now, but you might also not be aware of all the various factors in their life which are exerting an influence on them. The quiet, withdrawn person who didn't return your greeting so enthusiastically might be suffering from bad news or impending job loss. We might never be aware of every factor in their lives, so better to assume they are being the best they can be.
|From "How to End a Conversation"|
However, if something hurtful rather than negligent slips, fall back to the second principle:
Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence.
People's thoughtless comments are rarely planned out carefully with the intention to hurt. Twists in the conversation are almost never commentary about some aspect of yourself. Most likely, people are forgetful, stupid, or haven't made certain connections. If you point out how a comment made you feel, most will be horrified and, probably, think you a little strange for being so affected.
Plus, in all honesty, it certainly feels better to think that the hurtful comment was the mistake of someone else rather than one of your own.
|An Elegant Soiree|
A final thought. If you have met someone who does unleash a near constant or reliable stream of perceived insults, limit your interactions with them. Their negativity is unnecessary in your life. If you can't get away, try talking to them and explaining how their words are perceived.