When you call someone else a demeaning name, you're being a bully...even if they can't hear you. When you call a politician or a lawyer a derogatory name...or a person whose view opposes yours, you're being a bully. And for those of us that are parents, we need to think really hard about what we're teaching our children when we do it in front of them. But why concern ourselves with whether we're doing it in front of them? Why not just strive to stop the behavior in ourselves?
I saw a LOT of name-calling in the recent presidential election, from both major party supporters. Frankly, every time I saw or heard someone calling a member of the opposite party a derogatory name, it gave less credence (to me) to the candidate they supported. Further, it diminished the respect I had for a lot of people. Some of the sweetest people I know became (and become) the meanest people when it comes to politics. I don't understand why we can't support our candidate without name-calling to the other side. Political bullies call people names because they have no valid argument. Yes, that's what I said. So maybe you'll think about that before calling another politician a name. Maybe you'll focus on forming valid arguments instead.
My biggest offense in this category is when I'm driving and have to deal with others who lack the same skill level as mine, or speed, or attention. I can be extremely impatient when I'm behind the wheel which is probably why that challenge is perpetually put before me. The road that my store is on has a 45mph speed limit and I am often stuck behind people who feel going 30-35mph is acceptable. There's a traffic circle between my house and the store that people have an extreme tendency to not know how to navigate. I've even seen some go the complete opposite direction of the direction they should be traveling. I have been awful about calling these drivers names. My own form of road rage? I'd say yes. Ironically, when I commuted from Jackson to Lathrup Village, I had a lot of issues. Then one day I remembered that I had a choice. I could not make that commute and not have to deal with those people...but I liked my job. And I was thankful to be employed. So I changed my attitude in dealing with that commute. Since my biggest challenge on the road these days is getting behind people driving slower than me (by the way, I almost typed slow-pokes, which can seem harmless but leads to bigger things), I try to focus on how I drive when I have my dog in the car with me. He won't sit down, he often tries to climb up between the seats and he'll often stand on the console. If I have to suddenly stop because of a driver in front of me, he starts to fly forward. So I am very cautious in how I'm driving when he's in the car. Then, I put myself in that frame of mind when I'm behind someone going slower than me. Maybe they have a dog they're protecting. Maybe they have a fishbowl they're trying not to spill. Maybe they're distracted by a sobbing child with a runny nose.
Changing my frame of mind on the road changes my life immensely. Less annoyance equals less stress. Less stress obviously equals a happier, healthier me.
Be the positive. Be the smile. Be the change.
Care to share your name-calling offenses and what you plan on doing to change it?