Time for another lunch break post. As a brief follow up from my previous post, Victoria's Secret actually responded to me beyond the canned response. Surprised? I was. Someone actually called me. She first thanked me for my calm and collected way of bringing this issue to their attention. She then let me know that the VP of Marketing over there went to their marketing team and brought this to their attention. I was impressed. I've since asked them to write a public apology- they'll be getting follow up from me on that soon (smile), but I hope this encourages you to actually act on your convictions when their violated. Is there a chance you won't be heard? Sure. But since when did change-makers and world leaders emerge from that fear? I mean as the most classic example, what if Martin Luther King Jr. stayed silent? I digress...
So the real reason for my post today actually has to do with something that I've been learning recently. It starts with a verse in Proverbs 15, "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." I glance over that verse a lot, but I've begun to learn a little bit about the importance and impact of adhering to what it says.
There is value in accepting moments of discomfort or unrest and allowing yourself to just be - even if you're not sure what's going on. Let me explain. My typical reaction when I feel fear, anxiety, or anger is to react rather than to examine. I've noticed also that consistently this results in follow up apologies, more thoughts to analyze, and potentially even broken relationships. I wonder what would happen if when we were uncomfortable, we just stopped, breathed, and examined what was going on. What if we asked questions like, "What am I feeling right now?", "What do I know is true about this situation?", "How could this have been less violating or hurtful in my mind?".
Whether it's at work, at home, at church- where ever it is, taking a moment to gather yourself and understand what's going on before acting really gives us the opportunity to think of what we actually want to accomplish in calling out the hurt, the frustration.
It's funny, but the Victoria's Secret example actually ties in here. It would have been easy for me to write a scathing email to customer service, promising to never go within 100 miles of a store ever again- but that wasn't actually meeting the need that I had. The need was to express my concern about a marketing approach that both hurt me and had hurt others. What's the best way to express concern? Calmly. :) I am, by no means, good at this consistently- I've just seen the radical difference in how I think/feel when I actually take the time to pause and reflect before I move.
After all, it's not about not being comfortable- it's about having our personal needs met and protected. And thus, it's not that being uncomfortable is bad, but in fact it's an opportunity for us to learn a bit more about how we react/respond to things. If we heard that, maybe there would be less apology emails and texts sent.
Anyway- some food for thought on this World Water Day.