Last week the Internet was abuzz with a story about a Maine diner owner and the mom of a toddler going head-to-head about tantrums and acceptable dining behavior. Allegedly both the adult owner and the young child were throwing a tantrum about food and, well, tantrums; and things got heated.
The whole incident went viral.
The mother wrote her own response, which then went viral; but not for the reason you would think. An overwhelming number of people called her out for being a crappy and selfish parent.
And both sides used the hashtag #sorrynotsorry to describe their feelings about the incident (or perhaps it was used by media outlets that covered the story).
I don’t know about anyone else, but I loathe that phrase.
It sounds like an apology, but it’s really a slap in the face. An “I-don’t-care-about-you-or-your-feelings-and-rights-as-a-human-being-because-I-only-care-about-my-own” obvious non-apology.
How did we get here as a society?
Hundreds of years ago, our nation was founded on the premise of freedom – speech, action, lifestyle, religion, assembly . . .
. . .but only if it jibed with what everyone else was doing.
So long after our initial fight for freedom, came many other fights for rights – women’s, minorities’, and most recently in the spotlight, the LGBTQ community.
These fights for basic human rights are important and valuable. Persons who have the courage to stand up for their own and others’ rights are hailed as heroic. It’s hard to put yourself on display, to highlight your differences, your struggles, and your heartaches to a society that still clearly only agrees with the opinions which they personally hold.
It’s a fight, but it’s a good fight.
But the thing is, our society seems to think everything should be a fight.
The prevailing thoughts are these:
- I have a right to my rights and to my opinion.
- I am going to make sure that I get what I want and need and to hell with anyone else.
- If it upsets you, too bad. #sorrynotsorry.
Does that sound right to you?
Nope, it doesn’t to me either.
#sorrynotsorry has become the hashtag for a society that is so used to being praised for fighting that it has lost sight of what it should be fighting for:
Dignity, humanity, equality, comfort, understanding.
We share this planet with over seven billion other people. I’m willing to bet there will be one or two with whom you do not see eye-to-eye.
Social media has made the world smaller by bringing us all together. But, in many cases, it has also shrunk our minds and collective consciousness by affording us the anonymity we need to be opinionated and jerky.
It’s definitely a lot easier when it’s a nameless, faceless someone we don’t know.
A commenter on the internet.
A driver who cut you off.
That random kid at the pool who wouldn’t stop being mean to your son so you yelled at him (ahem).
Unfortunately, many times I don’t stand up for myself or go to bat for my children because I am afraid of confrontation. I don’t write what I really want to write or live my life how I really want to live it because of the scrutiny and the sharpness with which people respond.
And that’s sad.
It’s true, every person should be able to live their lives as they wish and say what they want to say, without having to be #sorrynotsorry.
That’s really not what people should be #sorrynotsorry for.
Living your life the way that suits you is your right.
But it is also your responsibility to consider the other nearly 7 billion people around you.
Instead of being #sorrynotsorry that you are taking your God-given rights, think of how that affects someone else, and put small changes into action.
Ignore, scroll by, sit somewhere else, leave, force a smile, ask if you can help, share a word of encouragement.
Yes, you have rights, but so does everyone else.
If being #sorrynotsorry is the way that you ensure you’re getting yours, you’re going about it the wrong way.
If we all give a nanosecond of thought to other people’s rights and collectively let go of a teeny, tiny portion of our own sometimes, maybe our society could begin to heal.