• James McNeil

Do you respond or react? The difference could surprise you.

The other day on the job, something infuriating happened. I had done what I thought was right, and even though the rule I had “broken” was one I didn’t even know about, I still had to pay the consequences. I was not put in danger of losing my job, but the consequences of a rule I didn’t even know existed were frustrating to me.

When that happened, I had a choice. I could have done what I’ve seen others do. I could have lambasted the company on Facebook, told off my boss, and gotten it all off my chest. Or I could vent to a close friend who I knew would encourage me and keep working.

I chose the latter of those options and not for the reason you might expect. Whether I thought I would be justified in putting the company on blast for this, once those words were out, there would be no taking them back. Regardless of the justification for doing so, it would have unintended consequences that to me were too high of a price to pay to feel justified in a petty action.

I’m not trying to toot my own horn by saying this as much as pointing out how far my journey in overcoming the obstacles that led to me attempting suicide twice has taken me. The old me would have put the company on blast without a second thought. Today, I’m realizing something that I’d like to share with you. When you react out of anger, you can say or do something that you cannot take back. Is it worth it? Now look at the unintended consequences of your message or your action. Is it still worth it?

I say no. I’m not justifying what they did. In my mind, it’s still messed up. But I will not let their actions dictate my response.

With that in mind, think about this. It’s been said that everyone you meet is struggling somewhere. Everyone. Will you be uplifting in your communication, or will you use it as a chance to tear someone else down? That choice is yours, but if you want those you love to be willing to open up to you, then consider your choice carefully. After all, would you want to tell your troubles to someone who has nothing but complaints every time you talk with them?

I wouldn’t either.

You can make a difference in the life of someone considering suicide. Will that be a positive difference?

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