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Words Have Meaning, Words Hurt

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Mirko, Jun 28, 2009.

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  1. Mirko

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    In response to the last couple of threads that have been created on sensitive topics such as cancer and death, I have decided to create this thread in the hope to get you thinking about the words and phrases you choose to express yourself and the arguments and opinions you chose to bring forward when posting a rely to a sensitive topic.

    Now, the experience that I and EleanorRigby are sharing are more in response to the “Saddest Story” thread (which was about a girl who died of cancer and who had her last wish granted). It was about a little girl that none of us knew or has ever met. Though yet a number of EC members could identify with her. They could identify and relate because they have either experienced cancer themselves or have experienced the death of a loved one or a best friend who died of cancer. They could identify with her death because they had a friend or knew someone who died.

    Although this thread touches on cancer, the underlying message that this thread conveys is the following: The context in which you express your thoughts, opinions and arguments informs also whether or not they are appropriate or inappropriate. There is a time and place for every comment and argument. But there is also a time and place where opinions, arguments and inappropriate comments do not belong. That message stays true for all threads on sensitive topics.

    The following highlights my experience:


    The following story highlights EleanorRigby's experience in coming to terms with the loss of her best friend who died of Leukemia:

    Now again, while our experiences are in response to a particular topic, you can easily exchange our experiences with other experiences that will lead you back to the fact that not only do the words that you choose have meaning, but the context, place and time determine what is appropriate and what is not. The context determines where empathy ends and inappropriateness begins.

    If you see something in a thread that starts a train of thought - there is no reason why you can't post about it. BUT - if it is something that would be jarring or out of place in the existing thread, or might cause hurt or offense to some others - it would be better to start a new thread for that separate discussion.

    In writing this thread, EleanorRigby has offered to share her personal experience for which I am thankful. I would also like thank members of the staff for their input and suggestions in the creation of this thread. Thank you!
     
  2. The Enigma

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    (*hug*)(*hug*)
     
  3. Étoile

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    Agreed. I didn't care if people didn't believe in an afterlife or if death had a meaning, the comments that were posted were extremely unnecessary and tactless. It was like scolding people at a funeral that their mourning and holding the service for their passed loved ones is pointless.

    Kindergarten Rule #2: If you have nothing nice to say, don't say it at all.
     
  4. Numfarh

    Numfarh Guest

    You already are aware of how I feel about this whole debacle. Obviously, I hate cancer as much as the next person. It blows hard that you both had to deal with this. I get that I should probably take into account other people's sensitivities when posting. That being said, I'm ignoring the last bit to say ths:
    Thank you for the public flogging.

    This thread isn't about whether or not we should be more considerate when posting. It's not even really a thread about cancer. It is just a way to have the final say in a thread, that if I'm not mistaken, was shut down.
    I understand that people were upset with me, but the discussion is over. Just stop trying to prove your moral highground. I get it. I concede. You win.

    I thought that what we discussed in the Staff forums was private. So although you did not call me out by name, I'm convinced that those who saw that thread are aware of who this is targeting.

    So thanks.
    Kindergarden Rule #1: Don't bite.
     
    #4 Numfarh, Jun 28, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2009
  5. Étoile

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    I'm assuming your comment was directed towards me Numfah. If so, I'm sorry if I offended you in any way. I didn't mean to personally insult you or even call you out. I felt that your comments, not you, were tactless considering the thread's topic. I'm a hypocrite for calling you tactless when I posted the kindergarten rule. LOL

    My apologizes again for offending you. :slight_smile:
     
  6. Eleanor Rigby

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    I'm sorry you take it this way.
    This is not directing against you or any other members. Both Mirko and I answered you directly about what we thought. But we had the idea that sharing our personal stories could help people to understand that thay should think about what they say before they say it : not especially about death or cancer, by the way, but in general.
    We are not trying to prove we are better than other people. A lot of EC members had experiences that are as much if not more painful ours. We just hoped that it could help people showing a little more respect about each other.

    Once again I am not blaming you, I am not blaming anyone. And I don't feel that I win anything because I am not fighting either with you or anyone else.
     
  7. Eleanor Rigby

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    Neither Asteroid nor I want to see that thread being used to start a new fight around the "Sadest Story" thread.
    We don't want this thread used to blame some members for what have been said. It would be the opposite of our purpose.
    All we wanted to say is that words can hurt, and that we would like people being a little more careful with what they post in sensitive threads. So please start with this one.
     
  8. Blaz

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    Again, I feel that on both sides there is the presence of far too much assumption, implication, and self-projection.

    One person is assuming that a public opinion is openly targeting her, which may be partially true, but it is highly unlikely that the primary reason for the opinion is this person.

    Another person is assuming that people's sympathy is a symptom of their own personal loss, not a simple condolence, which, should the latter ring true, the "actions" to begin with may have not been as unacceptable.

    However, I do agree that in truly sensitive matters, any "second" opinion should be expressed in a separate thread, but only in serious matters, which, again, one must take the time to deem "serious",

    Too many people are being blinded by selfish emotion, opinion, or stubborn belief. I only ask that you take the time to look at situations from all perspectives, even those which may be deemed disrespectful or inappropriate.

    Only then will we be able to think with a clearer mind. . .
     
  9. Chip

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    Thank you both to EleanorRigby and Asteroid for starting this thread and for speaking of some very personal and very painful experiences.

    I spent a number of years working with a nonprofit organization involved with training physicians and educating the public about holistic cancer treatments. During that time, I learned a tremendous amount about the preciousness of life, the strength and hope and faith of the people fighting cancer, the joy of those who beat it, and the difficulty for the patients and their families for those who would not. I have also lost a parent to cancer.

    I went looking for the thread in question and can't find it. I read the first few posts but did not see it after it apparently degenerated. Has it been removed?

    One of the things I have noticed about EC is that, with the exception of a small handful of posters, there seems to be an overwhelming sense of tolerance and acceptance of differing viewpoints on many different subjects, and that is one of the things that I believe is most important to creating a safe space where everyone can feel comfortable sharing their experiences, feelings, and vulnerabilities.

    One of the things I have learned over time is that, as we experience more of life, our priorities and sometimes our most fundamental views can change. I know I can look back at myself 5 or 10 or 20 years ago and think about things that I argued vehemently for that now I realize are simply not important, or that I've shifted my views 180 degrees, or that I may have inadvertently hurt someone else with my thoughtlessness and arrogance.

    It seems to me that, while this thread isn't about cancer, it IS about being more considerate when thinking about others' feelings, and about encouraging tolerance and acceptance of viewpoints that may differ from one's own. It doesn't matter what those viewpoints relate to; the ability to place oneself in another's shoes and think about how they feel when someone condemns their views or thoughts or feelings is something that I think everyone can benefit from. And if one is thinking of posting something that could be hurtful or judgemental or devaluing of another's experience, taking the time to think about how that person might feel reading those words might bring some insight and understanding that sheds new light on the situation.

    As to the specific issue of religion and religious beliefs, some people may be entirely athiestic or agnostic and condemn others for their beliefs, and others may have extremely rigid beliefs in the opposite direction; neither contributes to a supportive community. What the absolute truth is (if there even can be one) is irrelevant here; for people in pain, people who have lost a loved one, people struggling with difficulties of their own, often turning to some sort of spirituality or higher power can be a comforting and reassuring thing. And there is nothing wrong with seeking comfort for that which we cannot accept or understand.

    At the inpatient healing center where I worked, where there was tremendous interaction between all of the patients, as well as staff and patients, we often ran into the situation of dealing with different spiritual and religious beliefs. Most of the time, people were reasonable and tolerant and accepting of others differing beliefs, but occasionally we ran into patients who were insistent that their belief (whatever it was) was the only true belief, and they spent their time trying to convince other patients they were wrong. We finally solved the problem by agreeing that we were supportive of patients with all belief systems and schools of thought, so long as those patients were equally tolerant (at least publicly) of other patients or staff whose beliefs differed from their own. Not having read the thread after it degenerated, I don't know exactly what was discussed, but I can infer that perhaps it related to this issue, and perhaps getting agreement from EC community members for a similar degree of tolerance might help to prevent future problems like this.
     
  10. I can't believe this.
     
  11. Shevanel

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    This. Blaz you're like totally right.
     
  12. Dazed

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    I agree.
     
  13. pirateninja

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    Blaz has got it spot on right there. :eusa_clap
     
  14. littledinosaurs

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    Agreed.
     
  15. pirateninja

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    No, this is not targeting you at all. And if you think that, then we apologise. It is not meant to single out, or blame, or whatever you think it's doing. Trust me, buddy, victimising or "trying to win the argument" is not how we roll, and we're sorry that you think that way.

    The honest to God truth is that it's meant to get EVERY member thinking "is this the right thing that I am posting here?". That's it. Kaboom. We hate "drama" or whatever you want to call it as much as the next person. Probably even more; after all, we have to clean it up, and then we get labelled as "thought police".
     
  16. Numfarh

    Numfarh Guest

    Why bring it up again though? Why dig up something that, as far as I was concerned, was done? I call bullshit. This is a way to have a last say in an argument that could have continued in the thread I started in the Staff forum. Instead, people decided to put it into the open arena.

    I agree that the staff should be more open about the drama that happens, but this type of thread explains nothing. It points fingers (for anyone who isn't too stupid to see that it does) and attempts to gain the support of those afraid of conflict.

    :dry: Subtext isn't just something you read in novels; it happens all the time. And the subtext of that text is, "I need to prove someone wrong."
     
  17. Shevanel

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    But you're also doing the same thing? Dontchya think?
     
  18. pirateninja

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    Very well; I'll let you have your opinion on what we've written; but our intentions are not what you assume. It's just a shame that you don't see it.
     
  19. Numfarh

    Numfarh Guest

    Look. This whole thing would have blown over by now if people stopped bringing it up to complain about it. Comments like this:

    "I'm leaving EC because people are being MEAN."

    "This forum isn't good anymore."

    "Guys! Calm down. Everyone just chill."

    Those comments keep the topic alive. I'm all for just closing the book. I don't even care if the epilogue paints me as the bad guy anymore. Just stop talking about it. Or at least, add something new to the conversation.
     
  20. pirateninja

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    Fair enough. :slight_smile:

    Cookie?
     
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