I’ve been told that serving is more important than pleasing, and I wholeheartedly agree. Last week I tweeted about the phrase “brittle diabetics,” which I find unhelpful and in some situations hurtful. The scenario in which I heard it used was basically a replacement for “non-compliant” and “uncontrolled” “diabetics.”
I don’t use or condone the use of any of these words because they are judgments and labels, and they can impart shame, blame, guilt, and negative feelings. Most important, they just don’t help anyone.
At first, I was getting likes and retweets. But when my tweet led to a heated debate about the use of the term, “brittle,” I started to feel bad. I wasn’t pleasing everyone. Then I realized that my work on this language movement is never going to please everyone. No matter how hard I try to convince people that I’m not the word police and that I don’t judge, there is still this underlying resistance about changing language.
All I’m asking is for people to think. Stop for just a moment and consider the damage that words can do. Think about messages and what they impart. Think about tone and how it could be interpreted. Same for body language. If it hurts one person, it hurts. What better way to serve than to use language that empowers everyone?
I choose serving over pleasing.