Perhaps you have also recently seen this on a social media platform. If you rearrange the letters in the word DEPRESSION, you can spell I PRESSED ON.
I love words and scrambling or jumbling them. So, this post caught my attention immediately. My first impression was that it was clever and perhaps significant that those letters could be arranged to form that word and that phrase.
I quickly shared it on at least one social media platform. And I probably felt clever for posting it (though doing so requires no special skills.) We do tend to “keep score” on social media and it feels good to get lots of likes or shares.
Perspective Changes Things
A few weeks later I noticed the post again and I experienced a different feeling. This time, I saw the post while I was feeling depressed. Rather than feeling encouraged by the post, I felt as if my depressed feelings were being invalidated. I felt like the post might be saying, “snap out of it!” or some other tired version of “cheer up!” I was quite surprised and immediately wondered if other depressed folks felt that way when I shared the post.
I was tempted to remove the post, but it had been a while and it was no longer near the top of my feed. So, I guessed that chances were slim that anyone was going to see it now. I also realized that, like so many things in life, the action – in this case the post – shouldn’t be judged in a vacuum.
Every comment, action, word, or deed can only be fairly understood in context. The intentions of the speaker, writer, doer, or poster can significantly influence the message or action. So, I am going to hope that other folks would give me the benefit of the doubt and assume that I meant no harm or judgment. I only intended to encourage and support.
Assuming Best Intentions
Assuming best intentions can drastically reduce strife, stress, and probably even blood pressure! If I assume or suppose that people aren’t usually deliberately intending to be mean or insensitive, I may be able to hear their comment without feeling hurt or offended. (Sure – there are always a few knuckleheads out there just being knuckleheads, but most folks aren’t.) Sometimes folks are unaware that their comments could be interpreted as unkind. If everyone can try to consistently pause and assume best intentions, we will find ourselves less likely to be offended, and in the social media world, less likely to be unfriended!
Thanks for listening and DFTYA!*
*Don’t Forget That You’re Awesome!