Over the past few weeks, I’ve experienced someone who said something in anger, hurt, and/or frustration. We have all done this. However, in this particular situation, the person said it in front of a large group of people. Afterward, this person was called out for inappropriateness. Apologies were expected and even demanded. In this situation, there were many hurt individuals. How can you help lead to better solutions?
When there is an argument, people desire different things:
To not lose
To have harmony
To have fairness
To have normalcy
To have the situation be the way it was
To be right
To not be wrong
To be understood
To be listened to
To not hurt
When someone says something hurtful, consider this—hurting people hurts other people. There are a couple of really important things to remember when someone says something that is hurtful. First, do not take it personally. If you take something personally, then that means that you give more power to the person making the comment than you do to yourself saying it isn’t true. Remember, the only person you truly lead is yourself. Then do so. Lead yourself well by telling yourself what you want to hear. (Of course, I am assuming you are truthful to yourself.) Second, listen to what they are saying. Search to understand. From where they are coming?
I realize that this may not come naturally. We have been wronged. We want things to be made right. In order for this to occur, may even want to get even. Yet, we know, deep down, that would not be the best thing to do. Resist the urge to fall into old patterns that do not serve you well. The right things are often the most difficult things to do. Let’s ask this question: Do we really think that this person, who doesn’t typically do mean things, now has developed this awful persona and can’t wait to say hurtful comments? Or is it more likely that there is something unusual going on that is causing this person to act irrationally?
If someone says something hurtful, consider if it is out of character. If you truly care for this person, take a chance, and be the leader in the situation. Ask in the nicest way possible, “Are you OK?” or “Can I help you in some way?” See if you can elicit a different response. See if you can find the root to this situation. I’m sure there is one.
Blessings, my friend.