Jay Rifenbary

Jay Rifenbary's Blog

Callousness - Alive and Well


With the constant anxiety in regard to what tomorrow may bring economically, socially, politically and internationally one would think that striving for goodness, kindness, mutual respect and logic within our citizenry would be the norm rather than the exception. Although there is a tremendous amount of positive human behavior being demonstrated every day by those who are more selfless than self-centered, it is always disheartening to witness so many who take delight in personally attacking others anonymously. Whether it be verbal or written comments to articles and blogs locally and nationally, not taking ownership for destructive personal attacks demonstrates a complete lack of self-respect and integrity on the part of the attacker. An individual who obtains gratification from spewing a venomous, anonymous assault on another is innately a coward.This type of public ridicule does little to unify a community and its citizenry, but rather divides it and creates further cynicism, and inaccuracy in deciphering potential pertinent information because of the emotion the comment may generate. If you disagree with one's sentiment, and want to express that publicly have the courage to identify yourself for that will demonstrate a degree of personal courage rather than cowardice.

In regard to leadership, an authentic and principled leader welcomes ideas, suggestions and constructive feedback as it offers differing viewpoints and perspectives on issues and concerns. This provides the opportunity to ensure an honorable and corrective course of action is taken. The irony with an anonymous attacker is most people do not take their point of view seriously. Why? The attacker exemplifies a clear lack of principled character by not identifying themselves, and therefore negates their own personal and professional credibility. Therefore, what could be useful points and counterpoints are meaningless. Personally, if any of those I serve disagree with a decision I have made, or an issue that I stand for and believe in, they have a right to voice a dissenting opinion and state their case. I enjoy being challenged, when it is honorably presented. Anyone in the public eye is often demeaned, but what does it say about our society when personal destruction is glamorized, sensationalized and used to manipulate the mindset of the masses? It demonstrates an acceptance of a lack of personal integrity, apathy toward dishonorable behavior, and an artificial enhancement of ones own sense of self worth at the expense of others. It is always easier to take delight in emotional ridicule than analytical evaluation of the facts.

Callous is defined as, “showing or having an insensitive and cruel disregard for others.” How applicable that is to the anonymous attacker. One synonym of callous that stands out above the rest is heartless; and a heartless person is defined as, “displaying a complete lack of feeling or consideration.” Constructive and respectful discourse is always beneficial in reaching common ground, mutual understanding, and a successful conclusion to an issue or concern at hand.

Five considerations for those who take joy in anonymous personal ridicule are the following. * Attempt to think more of others than yourself. You will be happier as a result, and achieve a greater level of respect and credibility. * Understand that anonymity demonstrates a lack of personal respect, integrity and is cowardly. * Look at the bigger picture in regard to how your words and thoughts may affect what it is you are attempting to make right. * Ask yourself, what does it say about me when I lack the ability to take ownership for a destructive opinion that I present to those around me? It says you lack a foundation of values that are healthy and in alignment for the common good. * Reflect on what character traits you believe truly define effective leaders, and those individuals who have made a positive difference in your life. I doubt they were anonymous, and likely had the integrity and character to take ownership for their thoughts, words and deeds. These are points of practice we can all reflect on as a reminder to abide by the golden rule of treating others, as you would like to be treated. It certainly makes for a kinder and more civil community and society.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

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