We’ve all done it. Quickly judged, and in some cases, even written people off, genuinely decent people at that, forgetting their stellar attributes, allowing a single or even double f*** up, to taint an otherwise meaningful relationship. This phenomenon relates to Cancel Culture which is usually an affliction reserved for the rich and famous, goes hand in hand with Ghosting, which we’ve no doubt all done at least once in our lives, or had it done to us.
We denounce someone without seeing the full picture, or exercising enough empathy for their story and situation. We hone in on said person’s human error as if we’re immune to ever misbehaving ourselves, as if from that grand high horse of ours, we’re some kind of mythical unicorn who would never do ‘x’ ‘y’ or ‘z’. We denounce, friendship-divorce and ultimately flee. These rash decisions can sometimes provide an instant thrill as we elevate ourselves with the false assertion that, ‘I would NEVER do that, myself’ but ultimately only serves to hurt us, to show ourselves less compassion and can become damaging when it comes to self-worth.
To empathise, tolerate and forgive others is the only way to grow. Even if you’re simply forgiving them for yourself so you can let go.
Sounds new-age and hippy (which I love btw) but it works.
We must simply pause before we act/tweet/ fall out with someone when they behave like a tw** or in a way that is at odds with our own values. We don’t know their full story, their insecurities or their WHY.
Reflecting and taking an actual breath (even placing your hand on your chest as my therapist advocates) before making a decision calmly is always the best way forward. Try it before you speak or tweet. I promise you, the more you practise this ritual, the more being reasonable becomes your default.
I know I’m personally grateful for those who haven’t dropped me when I’m in the midst of mind-bending PMT for example, particularly my husband, Peter, who knows I NEVER mean it when I threaten to divorce him the day before my period! Soz Pete!
I’m wholly uncomfortable with this cancel culture we’re accidentally or knowingly part of.
The fall out, mostly played out on Twitter and even mainstream media, mostly towards celebrities (who admittedly, don’t always find their careers hindered by it, with many capitalising from their mistakes as this Forbes article chronicles with Kanye West and Cardi B for e.g) still worries me.
It goes without saying we must of course, hold others accountable to illegal, immoral and damaging behaviour but so often, ‘jury by the media’ taints those that we’re questioning, and certainly doesn’t give parents like me much hope as I persevere with my own children that mistakes must be made in order to learn. I’m committed to teaching my young sons appropriate behaviour, respect for themselves, their own bodies and others, and they’re well-rounded, kind boys aged 6 and 9, but we all make mistakes along the way, they’re inevitable and I want them to know that.
With digital footprints that can come back to bite you and your potential opportunities later, even from a misguided social media post years before, we all, collectively have cause for concern.
We need a more tolerant and kind world on and offline.
It’s OK to f*** up sometimes. It’s normal. It’s common. It’s part of life.
That’s what I want my kids to know.
To mess up, to own their mess, to clear it up, to learn from it, to become resilient and content.
By all means if someone is a consistent d***, go ahead and cancel them, but maybe, just maybe self-reflect first.