Day: December 12, 2017

365 Challenge: Day 275 – Coddle

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Coddle: treat in an indulgent or overprotective way


As I prepared for bed last night, I looked at a few social media sites before I shut down the computer. A few things happened which made me feel a tad disillusioned. In the end, it’s completely silly and should just be ignored, which I believe will happen today. As I tried to fall asleep, the word ‘coddle’ percolated inside my head. I verified the definition this morning, as sometimes what you think a word means isn’t exactly the definition. In this case, I was correct, but the word indulgent stuck with me out of everything I read. I also learned that you can coddle eggs, which means to cook them at a lower-than-boiling temperature. Learning is fun! Back to the purpose of today’s 365 Daily Challenge: coddle, as in, ‘make someone feel better’ and ‘sugarcoat the message’ when delivering news that might not go over well.

We all get that kind of news where we have to tell someone they didn’t do something correctly, or someone doesn’t want them to attend a party, or they didn’t like something you created. It’s never easy, but has to be shared in order to maintain fairness, balance and the truth. The way in which you deliver can be handled bluntly (just throw it out there) or you can coddle someone. I’ve always thought I like to be told the clear truth, but when I look at my initial response to something minor last night (and also a different item yesterday afternoon), it appeared at first like maybe I want to be coddled on some occasions. As I think about it this morning, it’s not that I prefer to be coddled; it’s less about the way in which the message is delivered, and more about the context under which the opinion is being provided.

I’m the type of person who will never provide negative feedback by itself. I don’t think that’s a particularly nice or fair thing to do, although in the short-term, it may be more efficient. In those respects, I coddle other people when I deliver a message they will not want to hear. The example from yesterday afternoon is really rather amusing. It caused me about 10 minutes worth of analytical time wasted, trying to understand ‘why.’ I checked the results on my December Book Bucket List poll to see which one was ahead. I realized I had a few other polls opened that I had forgotten about, so I looked at the poll results that appear at the bottom of every post where people can rate that post on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high). There were a few ‘1s’ on some posts that were simple inspiration messages or Ryder Rants. I struggled to understand why someone would possibly rate that a 1. It’s not that I need to have top ratings on everything, but a 1 is essentially telling someone that it was as bad as it could be. A rating of ‘1’ to means the thing being rated is offensive, incorrect, unclear, harsh, mean or rude. I’m pretty sure nothing I say or do would fall within those categories. But we’re all different and I respect people’s opinions — if they are being fair, honest and open-minded in how they deliver them.

Keep in mind that this is not about a few simple ratings on a WordPress post, or even a low rating on a book review. I’m referring to the larger issue of how and when people provide feedback or opinions without taking the time to properly share them. This is where context comes into play, at least for me, in how I give or receive opinions and feedback, whether it’s on food, books, design, clothes, art, etc. I personally wouldn’t rate something the lowest possible rating unless it was truly awful, and even then, I’d never just rate it that low without providing some explanation on what I did and didn’t like, or examples showing why I thought it was that bad. For me, it’s not that I want to be coddled or I prefer to coddle someone else. I prefer to take the time to look at something I’m evaluating from all angles to try to be constructive in my feedback, and I expect (or would like) the same in return.

Opinions and words are powerful. Freedom of speech is extremely important. HOWEVER, I also believe you must respect the freedom enough as it comes with the responsibility to use it with good intention and thoughtfulness. It’s not about just saying whatever someone wants because (s)he thinks it’s their right to say whatever they want. The ‘right’ comes with the balance of a fair and well-rounded response, not an ability to say WTF you want in return. (no other way to say that!) On the flip side, this is a silly and stupid rating for a post, which is meaningless in the grand scheme of things. I hope anyone reading this particular post realizes I’m clearly not referring to a 1 rating on a WordPress post. It could have been an accident, or it could have been an intentional troll. The real thing that stands out for me, besides why I am making this a post topic for today, is that some people like to be coddled, some people like to just rip off the band-aid, and some people prefer context with the evaluation no matter what the actual message is.  I can clearly say I’m OK with either being coddled or ripping off the band-aid, but I’m not OK with feedback that doesn’t show the submitter has taken the time to clearly think through the entire situation. This is why whenever I provide feedback, I take it seriously, always trying to ensure I put an appropriate amount of effort into my words and opinions.

This may be the most political you will ever see me get, as part of my urge to get this off my chest this morning came from reading some political news from the last few days — and how people are responding to it. Where do you fit in? I’m always curious how people like to hear feedback about themselves or their work, or provide input on how other people around them are handling a situation. Feel free to share as much or as little as you like!


About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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