These days, I seem to be tired of lots of things. Whether it's what I see on the news or on social media or even witness when living my normal life, I'm weary of many things I see. I'm not saying that I'm completely immune to these negative qualities or behaviors I list, but I am working on being a better example of the kind of human I want to be and choosing not to take part in the things that I dislike or don't respect. This general feeling of weariness or annoyance is only significant if I can act and somehow turn it into something positive, right?
So yeah, this blog post has originated because I thought I'd make a list to share with you...
*Caveat - there is no particular "you" or "us" or "them" or "we;" I'm just trying to write in an inclusive way that everyone might understand.
1. I'm tired of -- hate.
Given the current state of political affairs in this country, I'm sure that few of you are surprised by hate being on my list of things I'm tired of seeing on the news or reading about on social media or even hearing as I walk down the hallways of my school. I'm not naive, I've long known that hate and bigotry exist in our world. I guess I'm just surprised by the lack of shame that surrounds that behavior and thought process right now. I expect better of us as a nation, as a people, and I'm disappointed in us when the loudest voices among us are the voices filled with rage and hate and bigotry. Whether it is hate guided by racism or ethnocentrism or political division or religious intoleration, I think this hate tears down humanity. The next time you find yourself choosing hate and intolerance, please think twice. Where does this hate originate? Is it valid? Are you proud of this hate? Could you choose differently? Can you take the high road or learn something or consider rethinking your assumptions? I just don't think that all of the hatred is effective or reasonable. Hate only breeds more hatred, and I think the world needs less of that.
2. I'm tired of -- narrow-mindedness.
Everyone isn't just like you. Everyone isn't just like me. Isn't that the way it should be? (Look at me being all poetic and stuff!) I know that I don't want to live in a world where the viewpoints and passions and interests of its population are homogenized to the point of sameness. Be different. Disagree. Be unique. Be open-minded. Be passionate. Be authentic. Be reasonable. Be fair. Be honest. At the same time, give your opposition a little breathing room. If you want to be heard, hear others too. Isn't it possible to agree to disagree? Isn't it possible that you or I am misguided or even wrong about a particular topic or issue? Isn't it possible that no one viewpoint can be completely best or right or appropriate? When your world view is shaped by an us vs. them mentality, whoever "us" and "they" might be for your issue, then your narrow-mindedness is limiting. Likewise, please be open to considering where someone else is coming from in his/her belief system. Why would this person believe that, even if you think it's wrong? Has your experience been so different from this person that you could learn something from him/her, even if you continue to disagree? Have you thought about this issue/topic from other perspectives than your own? I'm not saying that you or I can ever really change someone else's mind; all I'm saying is that I'd like more people to be willing to hear what others have to say and to understand if not agree with it.
3. I'm tired of -- arrogance.
To me, arrogance is a real negative. I have a hard time dealing with arrogant people, and I encounter them often in my regular life. Sometimes, I'd like to call them on their arrogance, but then I realize that correcting them would be, in and of itself, an arrogant thing to do. Guess what? I'm not in charge of you or what you do or what you believe. When I encounter someone who's arrogant, then, my job is not to 'fix' you. My job is not to 'show you the error of your ways.' My job is not to pity you because you should know better or do better or be better. No, my job is to work on being a better human myself. My job is to be aware that your desire to correct others says more about you than them. My job is to shut up and continue on my own path. No, you aren't always right. No, your way is not the only way. No, you don't have all the answers. No, you don't know other people who have all the answers. No, there's no one fix for anything in this world. No, people wouldn't be better, or happier, or safer, or whatever if they'd just listen to you. No, no one wants to hear how right you are and how wrong everyone else is. Arrogance is not a virtue. Whether you say it aloud or not, your arrogance announces itself in every conversation and every interaction. Whether you realize it or not, your arrogance negates the value of anything you might have to say in my mind. My visceral reaction to arrogance is mistrust and suspicion. How will any of us achieve anything in the midst of that? Yes, arrogance really gets under my skin, but I also realize that I can be guilty of that habit too. When I shake my head in derision at someone's comment or roll my eyes at what I see as narrow-minded, I'm acting out a kind of arrogance. Because it bothers me so much in others, this is something I'm really working on to eliminate from my own behavior.
4. I'm tired of -- competition.
Yep, I said it. I'm tired of everything being a competition. Who drives a fabulous car? Who lives in an amazing house? Who has the best spouse? Whose kids are the smartest or cutest or funniest? Who sells the most __________ of anyone I know? Who volunteers the most? Who has the most FB friends or IG followers or Pinterest groupies or Twitter followers? Who is busiest? Who is prettiest? Who travels the most? Who takes the best family trips? Who wears the cutest clothes? Who is the most popular? Who makes the most money? Who is the boss? Who has the 'best' religion? Who has the most well-behaved kids? Who is the best cook? Who keeps the cleanest house? Who is the best landscaper? Who lost the most weight? Who read the most books? Who walked the most steps? Who took the high road most often? Who is the most self-sacrificing? Who has the best family? Who cares? Maybe competition drives some people; I get that. But for me, this life is about competing with myself. This life is about reaching my potential, and I don't really care what the other guy/gal is doing at the same time. I'm on my path, and you're on yours. Certainly, sometimes envy rears its ugly head, and I feel a little competitive on the inside, but this is something I'm truly working on in my life. I think competition often brings about the absolute worst behavior in people, and that's not something I want in my life. Thanks anyway, but I'll simply compete with my vision of who/what I want to be in this life, and that'll be plenty for me to work toward. The questions that really matter to me are more like this - am I better now than before? Am I making progress toward my goal? Am I living a life I can be proud of? Am I happy? Am I making a point not to harm others? Am I someone that I would respect? That's my kind of competition.
5. I'm tired of -- oversharing, especially on social media.
As someone who has been guilty of this myself, I know the temptation of oversharing. It's so cathartic sometimes to share the details of what's going on in your life with the wider world. We love social media - and blogs - because they present a forum where we can share our lives, our experiences, our joys, and our complaints. After all, I'm sharing some personal information in this very blog post. (Sorry 'bout that - I'm a work in progress.) But really, I don't need to know what orifice you're having a surgical procedure performed on later this week. I don't want to know the specifics of why you hate your spouse or can't seem to forgive your great-uncle twice removed. Please don't share graphic photos of family injuries or abused animals. I don't really want to know if you're having trouble pooping or if your boyfriend farts a lot. Please don't feel the need to tell me all of your political and religious opinions. Likewise, please don't feel the need to invite me to every game or to share every single funny thing ever published on the internet. Don't curse out someone specific on social media; I'd advise a direct message instead. Avoid sharing your darkest secrets or most provocative habits on social media and then pretending you're shocked when people are judgmental or argumentative. I really don't need to know everything about you. To me, these topics are things you share with your very best friends in real life when you're talking or seeing those people. They aren't fodder for the 2,714 friends who follow you on Twitter, for example. Today's oversharing on social media is yesterday's drunk dialing. Find a filter, grow a filter, ask a friend to be a filter for you, but please think twice before oversharing.
6. I'm tired of -- zealotry.
I get it; I really do. You're so passionate about ____________ that you need to tell everyone how all of his/her problems would be solved or goals would be reached if he/she would only do/buy/believe/sell/understand __________________. Uugghh! Please just stop. I know you're passionate. I know you believe. I know you do this with love and kindness in your heart. But zealots in any realm - political, social, religious, salesmanship - are obnoxious. Surely, I'm not the only one who cringes when a conversation at the copy machine starts with the words, "If you'd only..." Trust me. If I want to know more, I'll ask you. If I want to join your sales team or buy your product or go to your church or try crossfit or meet your therapist, I will. I'm so smart that I know you'll have the info I need. (Sarcasm alert.) I can seek you out and ask for your advice or help or product or information. Be passionate. Do your thing. Believe and practice and be what you know with all of your heart and soul is right, but please leave me out of it. Because you are a zealot about __________ does not mean that I want or need to be as well. Because ______________ solved all of your problems/issues/etc. does not mean that it will work for me. Because you love ______________ does not mean that I will. It's possible, likely even, that my life will be wonderful and whole and happy without __________ in it. Zealots make great salesmen, whether they're selling a product or an idea or a belief system or a behavior. They don't make the best of friends though. I want to talk to you in the lunchroom or send you an email or be your friend on IG because you and I like each other and respect each other, not because you see me as a potential customer or convert.
There you have it - a list of six things that I'm really tired of these days. Did I really change anyone? Probably not. Did I piss anyone off? Possibly. Did I make someone think twice about a behavior or two? Perhaps. Did I manage to crystallize some of the qualities I don't want to nurture in my own life? Definitely. Really, then, this list was more for me than for you. Funny how that works out, right? I guess I just needed to get some stuff off my chest and to check in with what I value and admire. Now that's a strategy I'd recommend to everyone, in a totally non-hateful, non-arrogant, non-competitive, non-zealous way of course. :) :) :)