Letter from the editor: Being decent to each other
(Photo by Molly Marie, Molly Marie Photography)
Rather than write on some political issue of the day that might slant your view of my objectivity as a news reporter, I wanted to write about something broader and probably more important: decency. The word “decency” has a humdrum feel to it, but it could not be more vital to people’s everyday lives and dealings with one another.
This notion of treating each other better has been weighing on my heart and mind for some time now, but I do not claim that I occupy some moral high ground on the topic. In fact I am writing on the topic because I know I need to practice what I am about to preach.
As I navigate my day-to-day life, it occurs to me that it is mostly the small interactions, the almost forgettable moments that combine to create the majority of each day. The little moments, the brief conversations, make up most of our lives. I have also noticed that I often come away from these interactions feeling discouraged, and I continually have one thought that nags me: We need to be more decent to one another.
Whether it is a bit of workplace politics, the irresistible lure of gossip, or the seemingly interminable game of comparing yourself to others, there seems to be a pervading theme in society that interactions require a winner and a loser, that to build ourselves up we need to take someone else down.
It is an almost visceral reaction to join into a good, old-fashioned gossip fest or hop aboard the judgment train when everyone else is doing it. A basic competitiveness is probably hard-wired into our fibers and meant to help us survive and thrive, yet our basic nature is not always the best human nature, nor is this competitive nature probably necessary in today’s world.
What can be done to turn the tide of pervasive nastiness?
I think the answer is in our home lives. When we are away from work, away from social engagements, away from the pressure of the social microscope, and when we are just amongst those that we love and we know love us, we are more at ease. We receive and give more grace at home because we know and trust the hearts of the people we love.
If we could only give the benefit of the doubt a little more often, give a little more grace, give people a little more credit, and treat everyone a little more like family, the world might be a little bit better for all of us.
Resist gossip at work. Do not overanalyze somebody’s email, which you think contains an unpleasant “tone.” Let go of perceived slights more often. Think about yourself more and others less. Worry about being better for you and not in comparison to others. Give people a break even when you do not have to. Realize that most people are doing their best to get through the day and get home to the people that they love.
I am not saying we should all hold hands and make a habit of hugging every acquaintance we see. We just need to realize that all of us have the same basic objectives. We all want to be happy and at peace and successful. That might be easier if we just were a little more decent to each other.