I know I haven’t posted in a while. There has been a lot churning in my little brain and many emotions flowing through my heart. I had to unplug from social media and the world around me for a while. Sometimes when we want to say something the best thing we can do is to bite our tongue and take a breath until the right words are found.
There has been a lot of controversy in the media about a number of subjects lately. A lot of people are shouting about rights in different forms. Some people are gaining rights; others feel like theirs are being trampled on. It’s been a very convoluted, mixed up world the past few weeks. I’ve seen debates and arguments break out between strangers and loved ones alike. I know I myself have cut a few toxic people out of my life and have spent some time re-evaluating who I consider friends.
If you are a user of Facebook or any type of social media, you know these types of things have been amplified. I know my personal pages have been flooded with flags, rainbows, sharks, and numerous hashtags. But that’s not REALLY what this post is about. This post is about reactions. And not just to the hot button social issues. It’s about reactions to everyday things.
Everyone reacts to situations differently. I have for a long time been known to either be a passive aggressive person or an explosive emotional person. I haven’t always been very firm and assertive in my feelings. I didn’t always stand up for my beliefs. Often times when something upset me, I just bottled it up and let it simmer until I was alone or I exploded. Often I took it out on myself. Or I internalized it and tried to find ways to prevent myself from letting that particular even come up again. Even though it wasn’t always something I could control. Sometime I let people hurt me even when I didn’t deserve it.
I haven’t always been fair to myself. But I am changing that. The past year or so I have worked diligently on voicing my opinions and thoughts in a positive and appropriate manner. In the past I often felt as though my point of view didn’t hold as much value as others. As I have grown, I have learned that this is not true. I have come to understand that my thoughts are only worth the value I assign to them. It’s not about being boastful or prideful, but about seeing my own self-worth. I know I am not as intelligent and as smart as many people in this world, but I do have 28 years of life experience. I have value in the hearts of the people in my life. Even though I don’t always understand why, there are people that care about me. For nearly 3 decades I have existed and in that time I have gained memories and life lessons and I have felt things that are unique to only me. When something in life happens, and I have a reaction, that reaction is based on all of the experiences I have held up to this point in my life.
That is how life works. That is why everyone in this world is so different. And that is something we must all remember. My life experiences are not going to render me to the same end as your life experiences. Just as YOUR life experiences are not going to bring you to the same places that mine have brought me. But that doesn’t make either of us wrong. We just have different perceptions. And perception is reality.
Sometimes people get stuck on their own reality and perception and forget that other people might feel or see things differently. They disagree on something and the reactions can cause tension. While sometimes tension is necessary and unavoidable, it has its time and place. And it should be handled appropriately with discussion and problem solving. You work together to find a solution that fits into everyone’s reality. I think my main issue this week has been people’s inability to see past their own realty. There has been so much negativity in the media and on various social networks that it is causing people to become increasingly angrier. It’s dampening moods and damaging moral. It’s causing divisions where there should be unity. Friendships and families are falling apart today over things that weren’t issues yesterday. People can’t, or won’t, have civil, adult conversations about issues. They would rather be stubborn. As soon as a subject comes up, they get defensive and the brain shuts off any possibility of rational listening. It simply becomes a quest of opinion domination. Sometimes its passion about an issue, but sometimes it’s just pure argumentative defiance against progressive thought or debate. Either way, it comes from a place in that persons psyche that no one else can speak for. What has happened in that person’s life has brought them to that point, and no one else can tell them any different.
Changing a natural way of reaction takes practice and patience and self-discipline. For me, there have been a number of times this past week where I wanted to blast someone for how insensitive and uncaring the words they used were. I have wanted to scream and yell, and “put them in their place”. But I found that I truly needed to just take a breath and step back. I firmly believe that while I am making efforts to stand up and advocate for myself, that speaking out in a spirit of anger is not healthy either. Sometimes this still gets construed as being passive aggressive. Let me be clear. I don’t encourage anyone to not stand firm in their beliefs, but I don’t advocate for speaking out in anger and encouraging intolerance, hate, or purposeful anger. The saying “A moment of patience in a moment of anger saves you a hundred moments of regret” is very true. Lashing out in anger only furthers the divides and creates deeper divisions. Sometimes it is just a better decision to take a step back, cool off, and re-visit the issue when things are less tense.
So think about that this week. When you see a post on Facebook, or twitter, or when you hear something on the news that sets you off and you immediately want to scream and rant and yell about the injustices of the world, stop, and think about you are going to accomplish with your words. If they are just going to be explosive, perhaps you should wait a while before responding.
But, if you feel calm, and as though you can react in a positive way, in a way that can bring light to the world, then by all means, please voice your thoughts in a healthy, constructive way.