(Ready to start pushing back against the haters and ranters? Something different than matching their tactics or risking their kind of eventual personal discombobulation? Today some thoughts….)
Some people try to counter the loud noises of anger addicts and those who feed them by yelling louder, bombarding them with equally-angry words or smashing-and-grabbing their well-being.
This doesn’t work long-term, so there has to be a better way. A way of life that includes what non-violence principles have taught us over the years. What skills some folks of color have learned as they face constant personal degradations every day of their lives. What we believe about Jesus’ example….
We might call these behaviors “micro-affirmations”—a term that describes any variety of small-and-subtle behaviors that tell people around us that we notice them. That we know them. That we see their better/best selves. That they’re valuable.
Some possible examples: Asset-curious questions (“How’d you get so good at….?); gratitude for small things; naming others’ virtues when we notice them (“Thanks for your kindness.”) Jesus and Zacchaeus. Any means by which we acknowledge positively the presence of another person—gestures, appreciative glances, hugs, handshakes, small courtesies. None of these behaviors works well when they’re gush-filled. All of them can be readily noticed by the person(s) we’re encouraging.
Micro-affirmations might help rebuild the perhaps-fragile egos of people who’ve been wounded by life circumstances or harmful relationships. (This might even include the aforementioned angry folks who might live at the edge of chaos and violence.)
I’m no Polyanna, so I’m not claiming this way of thinking and behaving could be a panacea for all that’s troubling our society right now. It’s possible, though, that micro-affirmations—when part of our normal behaviors—might protect haters and yellers from what might harm them the most: That the rest of us would get angry right back.
There you go: A new term for something you probably do quite well already, hmmm?
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