This episode was almost too relevant. Bad guys planting fake truths into the minds of the public hits waaay close to home. However, so much was on point: Peter Capaldi’s glorious hair, Pearl Mackie’s brilliant acting, MISSY (someone please get her a pony), and good ol’ Nardy is growing on me more and more each week. To top it off, Bill and her mom beautifully saved the world through the power of love and science fiction.
With that being said, the Doctor was not my favorite in this episode. I’m mainly referring to that awful fake regeneration scene. When I call it awful, I am in no way referring to the acting or directing. It was a beautiful and moving scene to watch, but it left me feeling, well, betrayed, and that feeling of betrayal hung over me for the remainder of the episode. What so deeply bothered me was the fact that the Doctor pushed Bill to attempt murder. And not just any murder, but the murder of her best friend. With a gun. And this is coming from the “always” unarmed time lord who continuously tells everyone to put their guns down.
Not only was Bill’s attempted murder a part of the Doctor’s own plan, but it was portrayed as a “joke.” For laughs. I do not see what’s funny here, people! What I see is Bill being manipulated by her friend for shock value. I would even say it looks like gaslighting, a type of manipulation where the perpetrator deceives the person they’re targeting in a way that makes them doubt their own judgment and question their reality. It’s also a type of manipulation used by the current president of the United States. This gets back to my statement of almost too relevant.
Bill doesn’t get so much as an apology or any acknowledgment of how painful the ordeal must have been for her. If I was in her shoes, I would likely be dealing with some serious emotional trauma. With all of these uncomfortable thoughts rambling around in my mind, I decided to instead focus on ways to show kindness in my relationships. By relationship, I’m talking about both platonic and romantic relationships; e.g. friends, colleagues, lovers. Here’s what I came up with.
(disclaimer: While I’ve given this topic a lot of thought, I am in not at all an expert and am working on most of these in my personal life!)
12 Ways to Show Kindness in any Relationship
1. Listen. Put your phone away, shuttity up up up, and truly listen. My husband made a suggestion that works great for us. If he wants to talk and I’m doing something *suuuper important* on my phone/laptop/etc. I ask him to give me 5 more minutes to finish what I’m doing so that I can focus on what he has to say (and vice-versa for when he’s playing Overwatch). Although neither of us is perfect, it works well for us and there are less times when we don’t hear each other due to just plain not paying attention. Also, with anyone I speak to, I’m working on trying to stop thinking about what I’m going to say next while the other person is talking, and focus on their words.
2. Do something out of the blue just to bring them happiness. Nothing is more likely to make me smile at work than when I find a post-it note with a funny drawing on my desk or a Doctor Who meme in my inbox.
3. Be a thoughtful and effective communicator. Express your wants and needs clearly and directly, instead of expecting the other person to read your mind. This means taking the time and effort to figure out what your wants and needs really are. It’s a win-win! Also, if you’re upset, spend some time assessing the root cause of your discomfort. Talk to them about what is actually bothering you; “I messages” can be a great tool!
4. Be mindful of your reactions. What you feel is legitimate because we don’t have control over our feelings. We do have a choice in how we act on our feelings. If you feel angry or hurt, first recognize that feeling is valid. Then walk away, take a deep breath, or use another method to calm yourself before you react. This can help you respond in a way that aligns with the outcome you truly want, rather than lashing out.
5. Tell them how awesome they are! Who doesn’t love a genuine compliment? Telling them they are generally awesome is great; if possible, be specific about what it is that makes them so awesome. It feels sooooo good when a friend recognizes something I’ve been working hard on and compliments my efforts.
6. Send a card or a handwritten letter. One of my best friends from home sends me handwritten cards on my birthday, anniversary, or just because. Her heartfelt messages make me feel so special!
7. Respect their viewpoints in public and in private. It’s fine to disagree with someone; try to respond in a way that doesn’t involve name-calling or belittling them.
8. Show gratitude. Say thank you! Acknowledge when a friend or partner lends a hand or goes out of their way. Or, you know, does the dishes all by themselves. For the third time in a row that week.
9. Surprise them (if they’re into surprises) with their favorite candy, wine, flower, etc. Just because.
10. If you’re having an argument, try practicing “unilateral disarmament.” No, this isn’t a fancy battle maneuver. I think of it as a word hug. If the fight is getting out of hand, take a verbal step back and say something kind, honest, and possibly vulnerable. For instance, “I care more about maintaining our friendship than continuing this fight.”
11. Another skill for resolving fights (or keeping them from escalating) is to hold hands. It’s basically impossible to yell at someone when you’re holding hands — I’ve tried! And even if you’re not fighting…
12. Hug, kiss, hold hands, high five, pat on the back, hand hug, whatever it is you do (consensually, of course). Touch and physical closeness are important and powerful ways to show someone we care.
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