THE TALE OF THE UNPLEASANT EMAIL (AND OUR IMPACT ON OTHERS)
I wasn’t going to write a post today.
I was going to have a full day off and do very little.
You see, I had some very sad news this morning.
A friend of mine, the husband of one my closest friends, passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer, and so as I’m feeling more than a little emotional right now, I decided I’d step away from the laptop and come back next week when I’m feeling a bit chirpier.
But then I received an email.
A rather unpleasant email from a stranger, which, because I’m feeling so sad at this moment in time, brought tears to my eyes and almost made me cry as I read it whilst waiting to pay for some goods in a shop earlier.
I don’t want to go into great detail about the incident nor is this post an attack on the person who sent it.
But I will say that it was hurtful, unfair and designed to wound. And definitely not something I wanted to be reading this morning, which is why I nearly sobbed all over my daughter’s new clothes. And in public too.
If I’d received it yesterday, I’d have probably ignored it or maybe even dismissed it as being troll-like.
If I’d received it tomorrow, I may have replied sternly with a few choice words of my own.
Well today, I decided to ignore the venom and reply with kindness.
I decided that life is far too short to be upset about a stranger’s unkind words or waste my time getting angry.
Because I’m starting to realise that whatever we put out into the world, we get back. Call it karma, call it law of attraction, call it whatever you like, but this is what happens.
Yes, the sender chose to send me words that were clearly designed to upset and offend. However I chose to reply with the opposite.
Today I chose to put out ‘good’.
Earlier this morning as I walked around my local town and tried to pick out the nicest sympathy card for my dear friend, I couldn’t however, help but think of this email.
I couldn’t help but wonder why someone, who does not know me, would choose to be so hurtful.
And as I walked through the throngs of people and watched as folk passed me by, I realised that the way in which we all treat each other, the way in which we treat our fellow human beings – strangers or loved ones – matters more than we often realise.
Because we have impact.
On everyone we come into contact with. Face to face, our even over a simple email.
All of us, have the ability to make someone’s day better. Or, to ruin it.
Our actions and our words matter. And it’s us, who decides how to use them.
So today I decided not to send an angry reply. I didn’t tell the sender how much they’d upset me or even how unfair they were.
I chose to be kind. I chose not to retaliate. I chose to let it go.
And I did it for the person in question, but also, for me.
So that later tonight, I won’t be sat on my sofa drinking a glass of wine and feeling angry over an unpleasant email exchange with someone I’ve never met. Or regretting what I said or wishing I’d said something different.
I’ll be sat with a glass of wine in one hand, and my husband’s hand in my other, as we toast our friend who has died.
And I’ll be remembering his impact on our lives. Mine, Jamie’s and Elsie’s.
I’ll be thinking about all the ancient history stuff I now know because of him.
I’ll be thinking about the delicious fry up he cooked for me one morning that helped to bring me round from a dreadful hangover.
And I’ll be thinking about how Elsie’s face lit up with wonder as he walked her around our garden, helping her to find creatures hidden under rocks and stone.
Finally, I’ll be thinking about my dear friend, whom he has sadly had to leave behind.
And wondering how on earth I can impact her and make her pain and her grief – if at all possible – a little easier to bear.