The subtle difference between teasing and mocking

Teasing is giving someone a hard time about the way they are. It is done in a way that honors them. It's intention is to uplift, and it is done out of love and respect.

Mocking is making fun of someone. It is done in a way that denigrates and tears down who they are. It's intention is to hurt, demean, or shut down– usually because we are uncomfortable with that part of them.

Sometimes the difference between teasing and mocking is difficult to discern. The key is found in its intention. If it is something you are saying,  you can ask yourself, "Why am I saying this?" Or, "Am I saying it to uplift or tear down?"

If there is something that is threatening to you or that you are uncomfortable with, beware of mockery and sarcasm. Or as George Harrison put it, "Beware of Darkness."

If it is being said to you or to someone you care about, you usually need to rely on feeling its energy and intention. Does it feel good-natured- or does it feel mean-spirited?  The words may be the same, but the intention is 180° apart.  I call this hearing intent. You have to trust your gut. If it is teasing, smile and laugh along, but if it is mockery, best to give them a signal that it is not OK to proceed.

So there's no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you're seeking to be less sarcastic, you can still tease people. It is a way of loving and honoring them.

You just have to be clear in your intent.

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