By Sherry Ann Bruckner, J.D.
What do you say when you feel someone disrespects your spouse?
In what some call, “the slap heard around the world,” the Oscar’s ceremony takes a bit of detour when Will Smith approaches the stage and slaps Chris Rock. Let’s back up a few moments. Chris Rock remarks about looking forward to seeing Jada Pinkett Smith as “GI Jane 2.” For those of us watching TV, we see Will sitting in the audience smiling. Then we see Jada not smiling. Then we see the slap.
What happens from one moment to the next? Was Will hiding his true feelings behind that first smile, or did he begin to think it not funny when he saw Jada’s face? Choosing the meaning of any given moment may be a discussion for another day.
Today, I wish to reflect on Will’s words about love, and what it means to act from a place of love. What does love look like?
What is the loving thing to do when someone you love has been hurt?
Do you put your arm around your loved one in comfort? Do you slap the person you think caused the pain? Could you comfort your spouse and engage in a conversation from a place of love?
Let’s be real. During the Oscar’s you are not going to engage in conversation with the host. Could you do what parents around the world do, give a look, shake your head from left to right, mouth “no,” and have the conversation later?
Then, what does that conversation look like? 1. Be clear about the impact, i.e., how you feel about hearing those words, 2. Be clear what matters to you, i.e., what needs you have, and, 3. Ask for the specific behavior you seek going forward.
Before approaching the conversation, notice what matters to you and what you seek. If you wish for respect, are you showing up in a respectful way? If you value love, are you demonstrating love?
Your choices are not just silence or violence. When you choose silence, you sacrifice personal peace. When you choose violence, you sacrifice the peace of those around you (and often sacrifice personal peace too). You may choose true peace, which recognizes your human needs and the needs of those around you.
When you gain clarity on your own values, and the results you wish to create in your personal and professional life, you more easily recognize if you are acting in alignment.
Valuing love does not restrict you from acting from a place of love for just one person. You may demonstrate love for your spouse, your fellow humans, and yourself at the same time. It may simply look a little different for each.
Peace is neither silent nor violent.
What does acting from a place of peace and love mean to you? Who are you willing to be?
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