March 19, 2014

Funny, or not so funny? How we make others feel.

*Disclaimer:  This is a post that delves deeper into my thoughts based on personal values & opinions.  To each his own.  I choose kindness.

I've come to believe that learning to ignore certain things is, indeed, a great path to inner peace.
But there is ignoring things, and there is being ignorant.  Two very different things.  
I hope to always be intuitive, aware, and a keen observer of my surroundings. 
I don't believe in ignoring things that I feel are unjust toward others.
So I walk this line of learning to ignore things that aren't worthy of troubling me (which has been greatly beneficial to my being), while being a mindful observer & feeling deeply at the same time. 
Another way to put it, is there is a time to heed Gandhi's word, "I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet."  And then there is a time to say, "Excuse me, but for the benefit of all, would you mind removing your mucky boots?"

So, once in a while as I go about blissfully ignoring superficial things & deflecting them from my peaceful space.. something comes along that stomps dirt on my patience.  Rather than ignore it, I want to counter it with some common sense & decency.

This is one of those little things.
Quite a while ago, I saw something shared by an acquaintance on a popular social network site,  (I know..  place of all places where it's best to ignore things.)  
It was one of those sarcastic greeting card memes.. some of which I find funny.
They're all over Pinterest, too.  I'll give you some examples from my "light hearted" board.

This is amusing to me because I'm guilty of this.   Here's to us!


This one isn't funny.  It's just plain-stated truth I relate to.


And finally, no offense to those sporting stick figure stickers.. But I find the sarcasm in this hilarious.
Hopefully individuals with stick figure stickers in their windows can see the humor, too. 


Now these images started off funny, but like many things, they got popular & started going downhill.. 
Which leads me to where I'm going with this, the post I saw:

It disheartened me that this was shared by an adult who's audience is full of women & young women & teenage girls. 
My honest personal opinion is that I think vanity is way over-emphasized in our society, and the commonality & maintenance involved in physical alteration startles me.  I'm an observer.. sometimes I look around me while in the grocery check out line & try to find someone who looks... natural.   
But my reaction to the image above was disappointment.  This is straying from humor and leaning on the side of mean.
My "Counter-it Reflex" kicked in. 
I thought to myself:  Maybe some people spend so much time worrying about their appearance not because of how cute they think they are, but because of insecurities, or because they don't feel good about themselves.  Considerably possible in today's society (of over-emphasis on physical appearance.)  I understand what being a teenager is like.  Young people are often trying to fit in, trying to be noticed in some cases, or trying to be unnoticed in others.  Even as an adult, I sometimes change clothes a number of times before leaving the house for certain occasions, just to find something I'm comfortable in.  
My second thought was - Maybe hairstyles or makeup or clothing are a personal statement or form of self-expression, that an individual is entitled to.  We all are individuals, who express ourselves differently.  If it's decent, not offensive or hurting anyone, then it's not anyone else's business.   
Mostly, I thought this was mean spirited.
How about this, instead: 

Maybe we should nurture and encourage inner beauty and make others feel good about themselves instead of adding to their insecurities & physical scrutiny.
Be kind.  That's all. 

PS:  I wrote this post months ago.  Since then, I've thought more about humor, and different interpretations of it.  I've had an acquaintance who has repeatedly dropped derogatory remarks in conversation, that I find insulting on a deeply personal level.  (Nothing to do with physical appearance, something more sensitive & personal yet.) 
Since these have been one-on-one situations, with the insult directed at me - it's in my power to ignore it, and up to me to make better use of my time than to share it with someone who leaves me with such unwanted feelings.  I can make better choices than that.  It's all good.  
But it's occurred to me that it's possible (though a stretch) that this person thinks they're being funny.  Or that they can get away with being malevolent by pretending to be funny.
I admire wit, appreciate humor, and adore a little goofiness. 
But I've learned that I don't like it when people use their "humor" as a weapon to hurt others. 
One person's amusement should not be at another's expense.
What do you think?

14 comments:

  1. I like how you expressed your thoughts through the words of Gandhi. It's easy to accidentally hurt someone with our words but hopefully with hindsight and sensitivity we can try and avoid the same mistake again. One of the problems with the internet is that once something is written/posted it's up to individuals as to how they are interpreted. Caution is likely the better option for we can't know how others may view what we have shared, our strengths may be their weakness.

    I'm another who rearranges dishes in the dishwasher - otherwise they wouldn't wash properly nor all fit in.
    :)

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  2. I could not stop nodding my head in agreement while I was reading your post. I avoid social networks…maybe that is a blessing . I don`t like people who judge others by their appearance - or think they are witty when they are just being spiteful.

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  3. Final comment . . . exactly . . .
    One more excellent post . . . I love your way with thought and word and "get you!"

    Recently I observed how my personal spirit was being affected by comments of another, subtle, negative, non caring . . . and realized it was not friendly.

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  4. Amanda, what a well thought out and well said post. I hope you have jettisoned the acquaintance who has been mean spirited. No use wasting energy on such "friends". I haven't seen any of those snide cards but then I avoid social media and limit myself to blogs I enjoy and one gardening board where I have made some friends. Take care.

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  5. I totally agree with you, Amanda. There is hidden malice in that one about how long it takes to get ready. I usually read these on my Facebook page and sometimes smile or grimace. Sorry about that "friend" who is mean to you. She's probably jealous.

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  6. Well said. Yes, I agree. Although I too like some of the e-cards you find on Pinterest and Facebook, there are others that I find downright mean. If everyone would spend more time building each other up, rather than tearing people down just think what a nicer place this world would be!

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  7. I really enjoyed reading your post this morning! And I totally agree with what your saying! Our society focuses way to much on outer beauty!! Being kind and thoughtful is one of the most beautiful qualities I find in a person!

    Hugs~

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  8. Excellent post. And I couldn't agree more. We really need to figure out where humor ends and insult begins.

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  9. There is definitely a fine line with humor. I don't like those comedians who go so far over the line just to get a rise out of people. There are just certain things you shouldn't make fun of! And I do agree that we need to hold each other up as women and not bash others who choose to look differently than we do.

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  10. Amanda, I'm usually a person who doesn't get too ruffled by others - I try to consider the source. That said, I have sometimes used confrontation if I feel a person is being a bit too passive-aggressive at my expense. This hasn't happened to me in quite awhile, but I can remember situations from when I was younger, when I looked the person in the eyes and let them know how I was interpreting their put-downs. As for the beauty issue, I like to look my best and sometimes that takes longer than I'd like! However, I don't want my grandchildren focusing on looks instead of character - we walk a fine line in guiding the young!

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  11. Most excellent. I agree with your post whole heartily... Just be kind:)

    I love this! Thanks for posting! ;)

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  12. Nice post! And coming on top of my grumpy email experience I think we could all learn that we need to think before we speak - or click share!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  13. I try so hard not to say things --either in jest or for real---that will hurt or offend someone else. Sometimes it's hard --and I regret saying what I've said. I usually 'realize' my mistake ---and apologize. BUT--the words were spoken so it's hard to take them back...

    People who say things in jest are usually being HONEST--and giving their 'true' feelings... Sometimes, I get offended --and other times, I love what was said...

    I remember getting very upset when a blogger made fun of an obese person... Since I've struggled with my weight all of my adult life, I took offense to her statement and told her... She did apologize --and said she had no idea (since she's a skinny one)....

    We are all beautiful in our own ways... AND--we humans need to stop comparing ourselves to others and to stay complaining about someone who is 'different'.... We need NOT to be judgmental...

    Great post.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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