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MANN: Why it's important to take a breath before reacting

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June 29, 2017 - 12:45 PM

 


OPINION


Some might say that I am not very opinionated — unless you know me well. I tend to revel in the shadows, observing, waiting and formulating my opinions based on what I witness.

I like to hear multiple sides of stories and I constantly wonder about the third side of the story that isn’t being told.

That’s not to say I too don’t jump to conclusions from time to time, because I do, and I can definitely admit to instances where I wish I had shut my mouth for just a little bit longer, or waited until I posted something online before truly knowing the facts. But we can’t go back in time now can we? We can only move forward and try to figure out what the ‘big lesson’ is or was.

Maybe that is why I enjoy journalism so much, and why on the other hand I am enraged every time I log onto my computer or tap into my phone and read the news of the day, week, or some other story running viral — because ‘we’ as a collective whole can’t sit down and discuss each news article, each story, each assertion and each assumption.

I can remember coming home from school years ago and talking to my Dad about the day’s events. Someone had made me mad — not unusual for a teenager trying to find her way through the complicated world of adolescence, and I was ultimately assuming things about the person that I was angry with.

Dad was a good listener — he rarely interrupted my thoughts. I think I appreciate it more now in my 30s than I did back then. But I will always remember his lesson on considering the source.

He would remind me that there are more than two sides to every story — my side, ‘their’ side, and then somewhere buried in the midst of the anger and the confusion and assumptions is the truth. That really stuck with me throughout my life.

I may not have always recognized that I was citing it through my experiences, but I know now that it became that annoying little bug on my shoulder that wasn’t really annoying at all.

As we delve deeper into the world of technology, social media and instant news, sometimes I need to remind myself to take a breath — I think everyone does. It is easy to react to something you have read or seen, and in most cases that reaction is a good thing.

Where would we be if people didn’t care, were never outraged or never fight for something they found meaningful? What if everyone just suddenly decided not to make waves or bother trying to get their point across? But what I am seeing more and more (and this may just be my own observation) is that people are reacting without getting the full picture, and that makes me sad.

And in some cases the full picture just isn’t available. We are given what we are given and even if we want more details, that isn’t always a possibility — so we make decisions and formulate responses based on what are supplied with.

And who can fault us for that?

But I for one will continue to challenge myself to take a breath when necessary and consider what I am reading, who or what is the source and is there something missing that I should seek out before I pass judgement.

— Becky Mann is a 30-something, red haired, mother of two, trying to navigate this life as best she can. She enjoys talking to people and discovering their stories. Still trying to balance her personal and professional life, she juggles work and play. In her spare time Becky can be found visiting with friends, spending time with her family and saving time by reading while walking, She knows there is so much more to come and is looking forward to the continued adventure.


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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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