By Lisa Cypers Kamen.
What is your weapon of choice? I’m not talking about physical weapons. I’m talking about the verbal weapons we use against each other every day. From angry words and harsh words to belittling words and careless words, when times get tough, it sometimes becomes easier to say something cruel than to say something compassionate.
The result? Words of mass destruction.
In a world where email and text messaging are king, this problem is magnified exponentially because our communication is stripped of everything other than potentially deadly words. Gone are the compassionate eyes or pats on the shoulder. Forget about the smiles and laughter. We furiously type a few words, hit send, and move onto the next email/text message in our queue. The result? Epic miscommunication and W.M.D. carnage.
Chances are, you’ve thoughtlessly responded to an email, only to have a friend chastise you for your abrasiveness. Or perhaps you used cap locks to emphasize your point, causing your text message recipient to think you are yelling.
These miscommunications are becoming more and more routine, and as a result, or relationships are becoming more and more strained. A few clicks here and there and lifelong relationships can be obliterated. A scary thought, to say the least.
So before you unleash your W.M.D., be it consciously or unconsciously, take a moment, breathe and think about your intentions. On the flip side, if you receive an email that rubs you the wrong way, give your adversary the benefit of the doubt. Read with the compassion you wanted from the sender. Instead of arming yourself with a quick retort, disarm yourself with forgiveness. If you do, the result may just be wor(l)d peace.
Happiness is an inside job®.
Read back through the last five emails you have sent. Pay attention to the tone you took and the amount of words you used to express your point.
Now think of what physical cues you would have used if you had been communicating in person (shrugged shoulders, caring eyes, furled eyebrows, and so on). Think about what emotions were lost in your brief, rushed email.
From this point forward, commit to taking a few extra minutes each time you send an email to make sure your messages reflect your feelings accurately. In this world of instant gratification, it may be painful to delay clicking “send” by a few moments, but doing so will save you the time and embarrassment of having to diffuse arguments or clarify miscommunication later on.
Remember…happiness is an inside job!