Being ignored

Evelyn Rodriguez tells a story which suggests being insulted is better than being ignored. There's some wisdom in this.
Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Eveyln Rodriguez passes on a story from the book Hidden Messages in Water

Three separate bins of rice are kept. Each day in the house the entire family including the kids on the way in and out the door to school participate in this “experiment.” To the first bin, loving words are recited such as “I love you.” To the second, nothing is said. And to the third, mean words are said, such as “You ugly fool” or any of their own favorite insults. Over time, the three bins showed markedly different stages of decay.

Which do rice bin do you think rotted right away?

The totally ignored bin suffered much worse than the one that was hurled insults. Whether you believe this experiment or not doesn’t matter. What resonated with me was that this rung true.

I enjoyed the story. Like Evelyn, I’d like to steer away from focussing on whether it’s true or not, and reflect on why it’s so engaging. I think because it captures an experience that I recognise for myself: being ignored is often harder than being challenged. Anger can be seen as distancing, but it can also be framed as a move towards, a way of engaging. A good thing to think about when dealing with conflict.

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