“I appreciate what you’re doing with these emails, but…”
Uh oh! He said “but.” This isn’t going to end well.
That was the first line of an email from a stranger about our email newsletter.
“It makes my decision to unsubscribe from your email that much easier.”
That’s how the email ended.
Well, at least I can write about his email, and he’ll never know!
In between those two lines, the person accused me of:
- Being anti-male;
- Being anti-homeless;
- Virtue signaling
At first, I felt confusion.
After all, I like most men…
And most folks experiencing homelessness…
And most virtues…
Then I felt anger.
Who is he to tell me I am anti-male and anti-homeless?
I should email HIM and give HIM a piece of MY mind!
I’ll show him who is virtue signaling!
Finally, I felt pity.
This email wasn’t about me. The language was too extreme.
He had to have other things going on. The email was too over the top.
I’ll never know (he stopped replying to my emails), but I can imagine a divorce or bad review at work or the death of a parent or…
The Value of Pity
Social workers and therapists have a saying:
“Hurt people hurt people”
When people are hurting, they often hurt other people.
Usually, they hurt those closest to them.
Sometimes, though, they hurt people like you and me—people who are just trying to do a job.
I’m not generally a fan of pity, but it can be very helpful.
If pitying someone helps reduce your anger—and keeps you from retaliating—it can be a good thing.
How you can use this
When someone attacks you, try this:
Step 1: Pause. Do not give in to your immediate emotion.
Step 2: Assume the person is emotionally hurting. You will be right most of the time.
Step 3: Pity the person. Their pain has nothing to do with you.
Step 4: Respond calmly and non-defensively.
Note: I’m not saying, “let people walk all over you.” You don’t have to allow people to treat you poorly, even if they are hurting. I am saying that you will respond better if you remember, “Hurt People Hurt People” and turn your anger/frustration into pity.
Have a great week!