There are two trains of thought when it comes to the notion that what others do can ‘make’ us feel a certain way. It seems to me that it is obvious that what others do can affect how I feel. But at the same time, I wonder how it is that some seem impervious to the slings and arrows of hasty insults. And why is it that some take offense when none was intended?

This all points back to our individual take on things and that there are countless personality variations that can affect how we react to suggestions (are you saying I am doing everything all wrong?), corrections (do you think I am stupid?), recommendations (do you think I am incapable of managing on my own?) or compliments (if I look good today, did I look terrible yesterday?).

I always wonder where the basis for our world interpretation comes from. Sometimes I think if I could just get to the very, low-down, beginning point of what makes me think a certain way — well, then, I could just change how I think with a snap of my fingers.

Perhaps that is what some celebrity thought leaders refer to as ‘the work’. I am not quite sure exactly when life became so much work. We are all supposed to be working on ourselves and expunging what doesn’t ‘work’ for us. Relationships are work. We are mostly out of shape so we need to ‘work out’. When people’s actions and words don’t align with ours, we say, ‘That doesn’t work for me.’

Faced with a problem? ‘Work it out yourself.’

We are all disgusted when people work out their frustrations on social media or by email. Thoughts which maybe don’t need to see the light of day are right there, in black and white. Anyone who is a public figure is vulnerable to criticism (well-informed or not), nicknames and insults. It is pretty clear to me that those posting these comments have no worry whatsoever about how anyone will feel as the result of their words posted on public forums.

I am reminded of the teaching of compassion, of the need to be mindful of what, how and when we speak to others and yes, how we say it. I know I give in too easily to impatience, especially at work. I try to speak to others as I would like to be spoken too; as the person at the top, I need to set the highest standard. There are moments when I may miss the mark. It is something I need to work on — yes, there is that word again.

I do think that in a lot of situations, we are forgetting about each other’s humanity and frailties. We think we don’t have to worry about anyone’s feelings. Perhaps common thinking is that we cannot control others and that it is up to us to set boundaries or let hurtful things pass us by.

But I don’t think we are as good at boundaries as we think we are. We can feel the heaviness at a funeral, the excitement at a graduation ceremony, and the carefree feeling at a country fair and these aren’t just our feelings, but the feelings and mood of everyone around us.

We can spread joy as easily as misery. We can think of others instead of ourselves. We can gently ask someone what they mean if we are unsure .

If what we said and wrote in one day were reviewed and scored at the end of the day, how would we be rated? A 95 for diatribes and a 4 for forgiveness?

There is climate change happening and it isn’t all about the natural planet. It is about us. Technology and its accompanying isolation is changing us as we speak. Although technology offers its own set of illusions about our distance from each other, we know deep down that we are all the same, no matter the selfies, vacation pictures or perfect smiles presented online.

I try to focus on this as an adaptation. Perhaps we have to re-examine our priorities, remember our human vulnerability and show consideration before we yield to smug, baseless comments targeting others.

It’s a level of maturity that we can all work toward.