A month ago, an officemate of mine, who probably thinks we’re close enough even when we’re really not, approached me at my desk one morning to rave about her recent trip to the dermatologist.
This isn’t the first time she’s tried doing small talk with me about her trip to the derma, and in all those times that she did, I always showed a polite front, allowed her the chance to rave even when it bored me to death. Until that one fateful morning when she said, “No offense pero punta ka kaya sa derma ko. Pwede kita i-refer. Para matanggal yang mga linya at pekas sa mukha mo. Maging flawless ka tulad ko.” [“No offense, but why don’t you go to my derma? I can refer you, so all those lines and imperfections on your face will be removed, and you can be as flawless as I am.”] As soon as she said, “No offense”, I knew she was going to say something offensive. She obviously did not disappoint.
I was tempted to bitch slap her and kick her on the chest, Spartan-style. I wanted to throw all the insults I can throw at her, make her see the truth that she’s not even as flawless as she thinks she is. Instead though, with my best plastered-smile and without stammering out of anger, I said, “No, thank you. I appreciate the imperfections on my face – – – zits, lines, and all. And besides, all those medicines and chemicals some people put on their faces, make them look synthetic – – – almost like breakable mannequins.”
She left without saying a word, and hasn’t spoken to me since. The bully felt she was bullied. I honestly do not mind at all that she has stopped talking to me.
But why do we do that? Why do we completely disregard another person’s feelings with what we say and do? Why do we often use straightforwardness and bluntness as an excuse to be rude to someone else? We often confuse that they are synonymous with each other. They are not. Straightforwardness and bluntness, coupled with respect and politeness, are actually good traits. When did we become so disrespectful of others? Does respect still matter at all?
We tend to underestimate, too, how powerful words can be. We often say “actions speak louder than words”, and totally forget, that even if they are less powerful than actions, doesn’t mean they cannot prick, or they cannot bruise and scar.
It’s sad how we can be this cruel to each other sometimes.
I take away three things from the conversation I had with my officemate:
One, be proud of how you are, and how you look. No one should make you feel otherwise. Love everything about yourself, especially your imperfections for these are what make you unique and perfect – – – a stand out from everyone else.
Two, be respectful and considerate of other people’s feelings, no matter how disrespectful and inconsiderate they are of yours. Respect and kindness are hard to come by nowadays, give as much as you can away.
And three, choose your words carefully. Words may seem petty, but they are very powerful, and hurtful, especially when used incorrectly.