…as in “I gave him a piece of my mind!” But to what end? As a defensive tactic I’ve found it really counterproductive, albeit momentarily satisfying. Of course, my opponent may be prepared to sling an even larger part of their mind…all this mind-slinging is becoming problematic.
My mind is a precious commodity and when I lose bits of it, they’re very hard to recover. I am so rarely better off for having given someone a piece of my mind, so why is it so hard to resist doing? The truth is, when I don’t react to injustice or stupidity, I find myself able to respond in a much more constructive way.
The other day I read a friend’s social media post that sounded completely ludicrous, offensive, and dangerously misleading to me. So I crafted a wordy reply to let them know how wrong and offensive and insensitive and ignorant they are being. I used big words and colourful words, I used all the words. Before posting it I stepped back, read it over, and edited my indignant rant down to a self-righteous lecture. Then I read it over again and reduced my lecture to nothing more than a link to a reputable fact-checker. Will my friend stop and think “Oh, I see! I need to check the credentials, the motives, and the veracity of the people I quote on social media.” No, they probably won’t. But there is a chance that someone else will give it a thought before believing the inflammatory nonsense they had fallen prey to. More importantly, I didn’t damage the relationship because I didn’t ‘give them a piece of my mind.’ And I didn’t damage my own peace of mind with regret and worry afterward.
I’m reminded of the very wise words of one of my heroes (my mom.) My mother had Alzheimer’s and while the disease took her memory, it couldn’t take her indomitable wit. I was upset about something one day and I told her that I felt like calling someone up and giving them a piece of my mind, to which my mother replied, “You probably shouldn’t. I used to do that a lot, and now look at me!”
A little extra reading on what’s actually happening to us when we start mind-slinging: https://hbr.org/2013/02/break-your-addiction-to-being