Pope Francis in a Fiat! Arrives at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, September 22, 2015, on the start of his first visit to the United States. I couldn’t love this any more!
And, I don’t need to write anything else. A picture truly is worth a thousand…
I’ve said very little about the killing of Cecil the Lion. What has struck a nerve is some of the fringe discussions that people are having around the whole “Trophy” hunting thing – whether it be Marco Rubio tweeting in “dead children” and the idea of abortions being something we should be more concerned about, or various people on Twitter talking about how Cecil the Lion “…better not be more important than Dubose…” – meaning, the killing of Mr. Dubose by a University of Cincinnati Police officer. Well, it all just got me thinking…
Why do we seem more upset about the killing of a Lion as a collective than maybe some other horrible event?
Personally, it makes complete sense.
When we think of abortion, no matter what side you lean on, there is still the belief that no one thinks women intentionally go and get pregnant in order to abort a fetus, or a human being (definition of fetus or human being depends on your perspective on the subject of course).
In the same respects, the killing of Black men by police officers still does not seem to be an intentional act even by these corrupt and clearly misguided (and probably racist) cops. More specifically, I don’t believe these officers wake up in the morning and say, “Oh, I’m so glad I’m a cop today – now, I can go find a Black guy and shoot him.” Well, that’s my hope anyways.
The point is simple: The reason why Cecil the Lion hurt a different part of my heart wasn’t because it was more important than any other issue out there today – NO. It hurt because the intention all along for this dentist, this American man, was to KILL an animal. He woke up that morning and literally paid for the thrill to KILL. It wasn’t for food, it wasn’t for clothing, it wasn’t to defend himself – it was for no other reason than saying he could and mounting a Lion’s head on his wall.
It just feels wrong.
I have no problem with actual hunters, though I admit, it’s not my thing per se. But the urge to KILL? The NEED to KILL for no apparent reason, with no justification? That’s why this is different. Most legit hunters hunt and eat their kill. But to hunt like this? It just doesn’t sit right with me.
It is wrong.
So, look no one’s saying Cecil’s death is more important than our brothers being killed by police officers. And no it’s not more important than my stance on abortion. Truthfully, I’m not sure why we need to rank such things, because all in all, it just sucks equally. But, intentionally wanting to be a killer as opposed to having to kill? Those are two different things. And that, in my opinion, is what has touched a nerve in all of us.
Most people, when hearing something critical do the very normal thing of becoming defensive. It doesn’t matter how gently you tell someone something — when you’re pointing out that something is wrong, our natural instinct as humans is to defend ourselves.
I got an email from this wonderful person on my LinkedIn page the other day and she was criticizing a picture that I had posted and my first thought was to explain it: Why I liked the picture so much, that it was a picture that was taken in between two posed pictures by the photographer – I was coming up with all these defensive explanations even though I didn’t need to.
So, knowing this, that none of us like to be told that we did something wrong, or to be criticized, I started thinking about how we speak to each other. How we can do a better job of finding the right tone and the right way to help people. And that’s the first key.
This persons email on LinkedIn, was all about me. It wasn’t about her being right – she wasn’t trying to be righteous or trying to be better than me. She was genuinely coming from a place of trying to help me be the best possible ME I could be. And I think that’s the first important thing to understand when you go to tell someone the truth or when you go to criticize someone: make sure that the reason why you’re doing it is because you’re trying to help someone else and that it’s not about you at all.
The next thing to remember is to always put yourself in that persons shoes. How do you best take criticism? Think about that. We’re all naturally defensive. So when you have to hear something that you don’t want to hear, how would it best be relayed to you? Probably from a very nurturing point of view? Loving point of view? A kind point of view? So always put yourself in that persons shoes first.
The other thing that I think is important is tone. Tone, whether written, or texting or verbally, is extremely important. If you are in attack mode, that’s how someone’s going to take it. They are going to be even more defensive. But if you come to it from a place of concern, of kindliness, lovingness, you can hear that in someone’s tone, people tend to take things much easier when you have the right soothing or comforting tone. It’s definitely a skill. But once you master it, it becomes so much easier to tell people the truth.
Another trick that I use – and I will call it a trick – maybe a strategy is a better way to say it – if I need to tell someone a truth, I always try to first tell them something complimentary. But it has to be genuine and authentic. It’s kind of a way to ease yourself into telling someone the truth. I’ll give you a frivolous example:
I had a friend come over the other night and we were going out and she was dressed very provocatively. And the shirt she was wearing was just not working for her. She was going for sexy, but it was definitely coming across more like slutty. She asked me what I thought of her outfit and I told her the truth. I said, “You know what? I love what you’re going for – I love the skirt, the shoes are awesome. But I’m not sure the blouse is the best because it’s taking away from those fabulous legs of yours…” And she understood. She got it. And so she changed the shirt. The point is, always find a complimentary way to ease yourself into the truth telling. And it should be authentic and it should be genuine. And I really did believe her shoes were amazing and she does have the best legs ever!
So the next time you’re in a position of needing to tell someone the truth, make sure you’re coming to it from a place that’s about them and not about you. Come to it from a nurturing, loving, kind place to help them be the best possible person they can be. And it’s never about you being right. Or about you winning. And if you do that, you’ll always strike the right tone.
By the way, I did change my picture on My LinkedIn Page because of this woman’s email. She was right. And I was able to take her criticism and make a better decision.
I hope this helps. Thank you again for stopping by. I hope to be back real soon.
In the meantime, have a sweet day!
*Music by Chris Zabriskie, Prelude No. 23, Licensed by Creative Commons