By David Ficarri
-Diversions with Dave-
The great author Stephen Covey told a story to his audience about how we are powerful to “carry our own weather.” In the story, he says imagine you’re driving to work one day and a car pulls out in front of you. You slam on your brakes and avoid wrecking into them, but they were oblivious to what just happened and kept driving.
Now, the rest of the day, you go around telling anyone who would listen how this person almost caused an accident. In the meantime, that person goes about their day as if that situation never even existed.
In the moment, you probably had every right to be upset, but once that moment passed and you weren’t harmed, then you’ve allowed that person to dictate your weather for the remainder of the day.
How often do you start typing a response on social media only to delete it and not comment at all? If you’re on Facebook as much as I am, that’s probably a rhetorical question. Sometimes, though, we let emotions rather than reason dictate our reaction.
We now live in a society where being “offended” has become a sport and we’re all willing participants. However, who really loses when we get offended? Like the driver in the first scenario, that person has zero concern for your mental well-being. In fact, there are some who probably take pleasure in trolling and antagonizing others.
The Germans call that “Schadenfreude” which essentially means taking pleasure in others’ misfortune. When you are offended, you’ve just played right into their hands.
In many cases, no response is the best response. It actually gives you the power in that circumstance as opposed to giving the power to the other person. Even when you may be right, in reality what did you actually gain?
Now, there’s another component to this equation and that is the people who actually are “offended” by everything. Quite honestly, it’s a terrible victim mentality. There are times where another person’s comments require a reaction because what they’ve said is so egregious, but more often than not the offended person lacks emotional maturity. As someone once said, “some people find fault as if there is a reward for it.”
If you find yourself being either the offended or the offender, perhaps the best course of action is to step back and ask yourself what’s really the best way to handle a disagreement?
Some of the best conversations are the ones you decide not to participate in. As you’re navigating your way through social media or life in general, the greatest freedom is knowing that you’re in charge of your own circumstances, thoughts and emotions. By allowing others to dictate to you what your reaction should be, that freedom gets replaced and robs you of your greatest strength, your mind. Once you start down that path of enlightenment, you’ll often find less need for that emotional umbrella.
It’s just as Covey said, “Between stimulus [what happens to us] and response [how we react to what happens to us] there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose.
If you want to have more influence in your life, or if your emotions are getting in your way, you can choose to carry your own weather.”