EVERY ONE OF US has been a dick at some point or another. Dickishness is when we act out of character, when we’re a bit crabbier or a touch more self-centred, or even when we do or say hurtful things to get a rise. In children, that’s negative attention seeking. You could say it’s the same thing in adults. It often happens because of stress, anxiety, fear, or other negative emotions. Sometimes we’re a dick for a week or a month or even longer, if we’re going through a tough patch!
Right now, more people are being more dickish than usual. Being a dick can be a sign of deep fears and insecurities. Suicide rates are rising in every country, in every culture. People today are feeling lost, fearful, misunderstood, under-valued, and vulnerable. They may have eco-anxiety, which leaves them worried about the future or their children’s future. Adding to the confusion and uncertainty are the cesspool of politics, misinformation, and Fake News. Plus we’ve got that pandemic on our hands, too! Jobs lost, no money coming in, no food on the table.
There’s a lot going on. All of these issues can bring out the worst in people, so our role is to bring out the best in them.
Now, if someone is a dick all the time, of course it’s hard to have them in your life. But if someone is being a dick and it’s out of character, ask them what’s going on.
Approach them with empathy and non-confrontational intentions, and you’ll likely find they are in pain or confused or scared. Sometimes all three. Most often people aren’t even aware what’s wrong until you actually draw it out of them. Ask if they are all right. Ask if they need help. Give them the space to answer—in their own way, in their own time. Probe gently to see if you can help them identify the cause of their angst.
When they realize that they have, in fact, been feeling out of sorts, they might also realize they’ve been behaving like a dick—and stop. However, best not to make it your job to point that out to them.
Let’s give each other the benefit of the doubt. This is how we make room for grace to enter the equation. When we don’t give the benefit of the doubt, we lock people into being their worst selves, even if it was just momentary. In that moment, we don’t allow each other to grow and evolve from whatever pain is causing us to act out. It’s a lose-lose for everyone involved.
Let’s not turn our backs and leave momentarily dickish people in that space! Changing the world for the better starts with the simple step of helping people emerge from a tough moment to become their best selves.
Give them some love
- List out uncharacteristic dickish behavior you’ve seen in people in your community lately and make an appointment to speak (gently) with those people.
- What dickish behavior—temporary or perhaps even sustained—do you recognize in yourself?
What do you reckon? A simple mind shift that could create change, huh? Let me know.
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