“I’m so sorry,” I told him. “I’m new, it’s my second day, and I’m still trying to figure this out. It’ll just take me a second.” He rolled his eyes. “Are you kidding me?” he muttered. “What an idiot.” My heart sank and my knees shook: I felt pretty shitty.
And even though that guy was clearly a jerk, I couldn’t help but feel guilty. Maybe I am an idiot, I thought. It’s been a self-defecating emotion that’s stuck with me for years. And with every person’s frustrated look on their face when I can’t give them directions, their angry response when I don’t have answer, their road rage when I drive too slow, or an infuriating sigh when I didn’t get my math right – I feel really stupid.
But I’m not stupid. Sure, I’m not great at numbers. Yeah, I guess I can be a slow learner. And yes, I use incorrect words and say things before thinking when I talk sometimes- but that doesn’t make me dumb. In fact, those people you’re calling stupid aren’t stupid, either. BUT SHANYN, THEY’RE CLEARLY IDIOTS you say. SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST HONESTLY SO, SO STUPID THAT THEY’RE A WASTE OF SPACE.
Let’s imagine for a moment, that someone called you these things. Doesn’t feel so great, right? Some of you are so confident that you say you don’t care what someone thinks of you, but let’s be honest, at the end of the day – you wouldn’t prefer it. Now let’s stop imagining, because it’s actually a reality. Someone, at sometime, has called you stupid. And whether it was to your face or behind your back, it’s still kinda messed up. You don’t think you’re stupid, right? You probably wouldn’t call yourself an idiot, either. So for whatever reason they called you this (even if you were provoking it), it didn’t represent you as a living, thinking human being. It didn’t consider you as a whole, all of the things and moments that contributed to your life up ‘until that point. It wasn’t fair. So who are you to do it to others?
If you want to say that words are merely words, then I’d have to challenge you on that. There’s something, somewhere in you that would hurt if triggered by something someone said. I don’t know what it is, only you do. Maybe it’s deep, maybe it’s dark. But whatever those words are for you, are different words for someone else. Not only are they words that could hurt someone else, but they hurt you too. Y’know how you get so angry that it sticks with you for the rest of the day, maybe even more, and then you end up so stressed out about a handful of things and then you wonder why you feel so crappy? You’re the only one who can change that.
I’ve got a challenge: try not to call someone an idiot. Seriously. When you feel the urge start to rise, when you feel like they deserve it – stop. Think to yourself, is it necessary? Do you have to say it? Or could you acknowledge the way you feel and move on?
– I think you can, but I challenge you anyway.