We hear a great deal nowadays about outrage addiction, how Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sights, combined with fake news, fuel a wrath-based addiction in a large portion of the populace.
What we seldom address is that this faux outrage we are all indulging in is not true wrath. It is pride.
True wrath is when you hear something that truly strikes you to the core, you rush out, and, perhaps you do something stupid, on the spur of the moment—usually something you regret later.
Wrath is often like wine. It goes to your head, but you feel differently when you cool off afterward.
Pride-fueled anger is something quite different.
Pride-fueled anger often works like this. We see a thing. It doesn’t particular raise a reaction in us. We have the following thought: Oh, yeah! I can stick it to those jerks in the opposition if I rub this in their face. Makes them look like a hypocrite!
Then we get angry. Only our anger is really our pride goading us. Our words often speak of virtue and rightness, but our motives are bad.
Worse, while people on either side of a single issue might not see it, because they are both fueled by outrage, to those who step back and regard the situation calmly the pride and false anger is obvious.
In other words, everyone not sucked in knows our outrage is fake—that we are just puffing ourselves up.
Outrage addiction is feeding our pride, and it is growing into a monster.
I was thinking something similar today in regards to that word I dislike so much, “mansplaining.”
1) Mansplaining is an ugly, unpleasant word.
2) Women also do plenty of annoying things. It has taken us over fifty years to get men to overlook these things and treat us as equals. If we stop acting in a business-like fashion and start going after them, they will take their gloves off as well—and we will soon be back where we were fifty years ago.
3) It is true that some man do the behavior that leads to this term out of arrogant pride—but usually, when I see this behavior, it is some gentleman who is not very good at social interaction trying to express something he cares or share something knows about.
And he doesn’t just do this to women. He talks this way to everyone.
What is the ideal reaction to someone under this last set of situations?
Going out on a limb here, I dare say that the answer is kindness.
In order to be offended by a man—or anyone—speaking in such a fashion, we, the woman listening, have to believe that his speech is attacking our pride.
That he is belittling us.
Otherwise, objections to mansplaining would not so often be accompanied by faux-style outrage.
If we do not see what the man is saying as an attack on our pride, we would not be bothered by it.
We would either hold up our hand and kindly say, “I already know all about this. Thanks.”
Or we would listen and ask a few thoughtful questions in an effort to encourage the speaker to feel more at east with social interaction.
One of my hobbies is reading Near Death Experiences (research for a future fantasy book). I have read hundreds, possibly thousands of such experiences.
I have read NDEs by atheists, Christians, Jews, and more. They all tend to have many elements in common.
One element often found is the Life Review. It works, according to these experiences as thus: The person sees their whole life flash before them. There are others there, but all the judging of whether it was good or bad is done by the individual themselves.
The thing they are judging—the thing they are looking for—is not how well they played the game of life or how far ahead they got in the world, but…how much love was expressed.
Just that. Whether or not they expressed self-less love.
Now, you may believe the reports of NDEs, or you may just consider them a kind of analogy about life. But either way…
Every time we interact with others, we are being given an opportunity to love, an opportunity to treat others with thoughtfulness and kindness.
When we accept this opportunity, we win.
When we fail to accept it, we lose.
No matter how much we may seem to win in the short term, we lose in the long term. Both us and everyone around us.
Do some people talk down to us because they are arrogant idiots?
Should this excuse us being arrogant in return?
Not if you believe in Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Worse, those men who actually are arrogant, who actually do despise women, are going to keep on despising them.
The men who rush around trying not to “mansplain” are the ones who either were not arrogant to begin with or who have another less admirable motive for trying to please the ladies.
So next time you feel someone is explaining something you don’t need to hear, don’t call him names. Just gently find a way to let him know…or, if he needs the support, just listen and thank him—even if you already knew.
Because when we women let pride overcome our reason, we come over as…
Let’s just say that there are A LOT of words for what women are like when they do unpleasant things, and we don’t need to be using those either.