Sunday, April 4, 2010

Why Are People So Mean?

We are walking out of a lovely Easter service at church today, Ellie is front of me walking with her daddy and holding her Easter candy. Two tweenage girls walk by us heading the other direction, both looking at Ellie and smiling in what I thought was a kind fashion until I heard one say to the other, "She's fat!" in a snide tone of voice. The other girl burst out laughing, and the first one said, "I'm just saying..."

Luckily Ellie didn't hear them. Even if she had, I don't think at age 3 she would have known what they meant or that they were referring to her. Blessings for that. But what is the freaking point of making a comment like that, anyway? Had I been quicker to respond, I might have said something to the girls. As it was, I was just stunned and kept walking. No one else heard them except me. I'm still angry.

I'm angry for all the times I heard that growing up as a child (and never managed to come up with a response, either). I'm angry at the apparent need to tear people down that I witness daily - in children, in some adults, even, I admit, in my own head occasionally. What is the point of that? The only purpose of those words is to hurt someone else. So why say them?

To everyone out there who interacts with young girls, be kind. If you interact with young boys, be kind. If you interact with anyone at all, be kind. If you talk to yourself, be kind. Be kinder than necessary, actually, for everyone you meet is fighting some sort of battle. Some are just more visible than others.

And Ellie, if I can do one thing for you in your life, it will be to teach you you are valuable and loved, and not to let comments like that get you down. Now if only I could teach that to myself.

1 comment:

  1. You know, when I was little and people would say mean things, my Mom would always say, "They must feel really bad about themselves." She said I finally said back to her, "Mommy, some people are just plain mean." She remembers this fondly with a laugh. Actually, as an adult I see that she was right. Those people who were so critical and mean really felt horribly about themselves and were unhappy. If you're happy with yourself, you don't think of/feel the need to say bad things about people. Of course, as a child it just made my pain feel invalidated. So, if I could go back to myself and be my own "good mother" I would've first acknowledged the feeling, "Yes, Louisa, that was mean and I know it hurt your feelings." Then I would say, "Who cares what that person thinks or says--they are not worthy of your energy or attention." Then I would share the part about their being unhappy. Of course, at 3, Ellie doesn't need to hear any of this. Just to be loved for who she is--which includes all the intelligent/kind things about her wrapped up in a beautiful little girl package with GORGEOUS strawberry hair.