This morning, in a fit of anger, I blogged about a woman I saw on the train, wearing a fur coat. One of my favorite vintage seller named Shirley (a.k.a. KlassyKlassics on etsy.com) is also a follower of my blog. Shirley and I became email friends because I had purchased a vintage coat from her. I had told Shirley about my blog because whenever I buy vintage items, I like to post pictures of them with the link so as to drive business to the seller’s Etsy Shop. In addition to selling vintage clothing and household items, Shirley is a mother and a grandmother. When Shirley read my post this morning, she became alarmed. She worried that I might be one of those radical animal rights activists. You know the type of activist who give animal rights a bad rep because they do things like throw red paint on women wearing fur coats.
I fully admit, seeing that woman in a fur coat this morning really hit a nerve. As a result, I was rude to the woman. I didn’t say anything to her but I did cut her off in line when boarding the train. I realize now, after emailing with Shirley, that what I did was a very passive-aggressive maneuver. What can I say, it wasn’t my finest hour. Sometimes, when faced with conflict, I don’t always know how to react. It would seem for me anyway, it is always after the fact when I learn how I could have handled a particular situation. :-/
Anyway, Shirley’s advice was to try a different approach. Rather than become upset or angry, why not try educating the person.
In Shirley’s words,
…I just thought a softer way to get your point across would have been better… She probably doesn’t have a clue/never been taught to be aware of the cruelty involved in that coat getting on the rack… Like I said yesterday in my email to you…why don’t we have more talk shows/educational channels on this topic… Maybe you could help educate this person….that would be a great thing. If you kept pamphlets in your bag and when you see this person/or someone else wearing fur on the train hand her one. She might read it/might not if she’s an idiot but you then have done something you can feel good about. This message does need to get out there, I am all for that but it has to be done in a way that the person doesn’t feel they are being judged or attacked… I agree that there is no excuse for wearing fur in this day and age! She probably is aware that it is wrong but she chooses to stick her head in the mud and not know the ugly details involved… She might be choosing to NOT know the ugly details involved but then again maybe no one has ever told her… Educating people on this topic is so important but where to start? Not everyone can afford college….some people just don’t care and will never care even if they are educated. Some people are trying to just make it through the day. The world is full of people with attitudes like Gentry’s attitude toward Cubby and there are millions of other people who just don’t care. I care/You care…
You know what? Shirley is absolutely 100% right. Why fall into the category of extreme when I could gently educate this woman on her misstep. It may or may not have a positive outcome but leading with kindness rather than anger is always a better strategy. Next time, by taking a kinder approach, I may have a more positive results (hopefully). After all, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar right? (Or is it bees?)
I have to admit, I admire Shirley for her honesty. She didn’t have to say anything at all. She could have quietly disapproved from a distance.
I do feel it necessary to mention that I am always open to learning. In fact, I work with a woman who is also my mentor. Her name is Lucille. Lucille is always counseling me on how to be the best I can be at my job. I take the advice freely and openly even if the advice is mixed with criticism because how else can I learn and improve myself if I don’t listen to the criticism? Lucille once told me that one of my strengths is that I am always open to criticism. That I take the criticism well, using it to change. But why wouldn’t I? I mean, how could I possibly strive to be a better person if I didn’t take the outside advice from people, even if that advice hurts?
In closing, Shirley quickly realized my stance on animal rights was going off the rails. As a result, she honestly admitted her disdain for what I said. When I asked her about it, she proceeded to put me back on track as I outlined above. I haven’t known Shirley for very long, but clearly she cares enough to prevent me and my cause from looking foolish.
Shirley, if you are reading this post, allow me to take this moment to give you a big heartfelt THANK YOU!!!!