One of my high school students wrote an essay on how he thought people are too sensitive and too thin-skinned to every hurtful comment made by others.
He argued his point very well, but I, politely, have to disagree with him.
“Let’s be honest, the world is a racist, sexist, and just judgmental place,” he wrote. “but it does not mean that we should get so angry or offended by it, because we all do it.
“I’m not saying,” he went on, “that we are all racist or bad people, it’s just how we are. We all judge people by the way they look, speak or even walk.”
I have to disagree with him, not about the fact we all have a tendency to judge (that’s definitely true), but about his viewpoint that we’re too sensitive.
We are human, and while I’ve found it helps to develop thicker skin, I still fundamentally believe it’s wrong when one person hurts another person’s feelings.
It’s human consideration to take into account how our words might affect another person. I see this truth lived out daily in our family and my son’s friendships.
A harsh word or tone hurts. Thicker skin helps it hurt less, but when we deny the fact our words can hurt others, we start to lose what’s most unique about us.
We’re human and, like it or not, we have feelings that get hurt.
D ran over to see his two neighborhood friends, and one didn’t like the fact he picked up his toy gun without D asking, and yelled at D.
Normally, D will yell back, but for whatever reason—I think it was that he really wanted to play with his friends—he shed a few tears.
Back at the house away from his friends.
But still, I can’t help wonder, as I read my student’s essay, how much a kinder place the world would be if we recognized human consideration as an important trait.
Another student of mine wrote what amounted to the opposite view in describing how his perspective of the world change because he was bullied and refused to fight.
“He decided to call me out for not fighting him,” he wrote, “but the way I see it is just me being the bigger and grown person.”
It’s common sense. A kind word or action make someone feel good, and an unkind word or action can hurt someone’s feelings.
That’s how I see it, and I hope my son will see, that we should try to be the more mature person by forgiving others, even if they’re unkind to us.
So, no, people in the world are not too sensitive, it’s actually the opposite—people are too insensitive to how their words and actions affect others.