The Brooklyn Library is giving every young person in America a free library card. You can check out all the banned books, and decide for yourself. The fact that full grown adults are banning books in this country that prides itself on being home of the free and brave, they sure are saying, “except your freedom and bravery” ~ exclusion is not our founding principle.
Teaching people how to think, not what to think about is the goal.
Uncomfortable Truth About Suffering
If we are going to work with people who are suffering ~ at work or in life, and quite often both, then we have to become comfortable with the uncomfortable.
We are so good at producing proactive, positive ways to help people to live a truly authentic life. We promote genuineness. We celebrate kindness and thriving.
Then, we fall back into old patterns of our own biases. Every culture has a set of unwritten rules they follow.
I can only speak to those in the USA, since that’s where I live.
Depending on the social media platform, a steadfast rule is ~ no matter how free we are determined to be, we are limited in what we should say.
There’s a strong common trait between domestic violence and how we use our social media.
Not everyone uses it the same way.
There are pages now, that I wouldn’t even dream of using. Except perhaps as a reference in the Kindle Vella I’m writing where good vs. evil plays out on the fictional pages of Alice’s diaries. (That was a shameless plug for the book). 🙂
I didn’t know that three of these platforms existed until I saw a Twitter from Elon Musk comparing the size of his …. new toy … to the size of other influencer’s platforms.
*roll your eyes here if you’d like, … it’s to be expected*. I have no opinion of any of it. Having no opinion, is an opinion, and a decision. It’s better to stay safe than sorry, they always say.
Social media is great for expressing your values and opinions but there are uncomfortable truths to it.
You will be scrutinized, making it one of the most vulnerable places on earth.
You will be disliked, making it one of the more powerful strength-builders, or, one of the biggest soul crushers, depending on how you see the world.
You will be liked by too many strangers, which is a total trigger for a survivor of a traumatic experience.
It can be terrifying to know that total strangers are out there reading everything you write.
Artists put their work out there for all the world to see. Talk about brave and vulnerable at the same time!
Everyone has a phone and it seems, everyone is out there recording everyone else as if their lives are so perfect, they feel entitled.
The truly brave (and I’m referencing a whole lot of Brene Brown work when I write this) are those who do it anyway.
We KNOW we will be judged.
In survivor mode, you slip back into safety.
We KNOW we are collectively experiencing high levels of dis-ease and stress. We KNOW that the world has hit an all time high in feeling the tension of the world.
That’s what Glennon Doyle’s books are all about. Being radically brave enough to be yourself in a world that demands you stay quiet.
The tension leads to emotional decision making which leads to unconscious biases driving our opinions.
People online are not the same people that we meet on the street.
When I traveled last summer, I covered almost 10,000 miles all along the east coast. Here’s what I saw in that time ~
Nobody was mean to anyone else.
Not a single person outwardly taking pictures of anyone else.
People helped each other in the small ways that mattered ~ holding the door, waiting in line, allowing children and their parents to use the bathrooms first.
People were kind to others.
I did see a lot of traffic accidents so maybe all that effort to be kind backfired when they were behind the wheel.
Driving up and down the main highway that connects north and south, there were of course, those idiot fools who think they own the road. You know the types. Those people who watched too many Fast and Furious movies, so now are convinced they are part of that circus.
They endanger the lives of everyone else. Ironically, it was primarily women who were pushy and aggressive drivers. Sorry girls … but some of y’all need to slow the fork down. Call me a karen. I don’t care. You were being dangerous. I’ve officially hit ‘I mom-so-hard’ level.
If you’ve ever driven past an accident where there are flames, and the jaws of life in use ~ with a 20 mile back up … you will maybe soak some of that up, and slow the fork down.
It makes you uncomfortable.
We are all theorists these days.
In THEORY, we know how to live a happy, healthy, whole person life.
MANY of the people I know in higher education in particular, just have no concept of what it’s like to live in hardship or poverty. They create theory and policy for people who are suffering, but would not live as a struggling young mother who works paycheck to paycheck. They teach hardship and suffering, but do not fully understand what life for a BIPOC person is today, as racial tensions flare.
It’s as if our eyes, ears, hearts, and minds are not connected.
Instead, we create pretty memes, and dynamic views ~ appreciating the beauty of the easy life, but choose to look away from the grit filled, resiliency needed by more than 65% of the population. The people who live paycheck to paycheck.
To understand joy, we must know suffering. The same is true for happiness, thriving, surviving, emotional intelligence, social cues, and our systems meant to protect the vulnerable.
Social media is only one way to connect to the world. It’s not even the best way. It’s what we’ve had to rely on for the past two years.
It can be used as a powerful tool for good.
Far too many are using it as a tool for bad, and that is not good.
I could be more pithy in describing it, but when the simple words work to make a point, use them. (I think it was Hemingway who said that. Maybe it was King?)
**This part is for writers, and maybe this entire blog is leaning toward writers**
Lean in to learning ~ get messy ~ experience as much as you can first hand.
Listen to the conversations all around you.
Stay present with your own emotional ties to everything.
Be consciously aware of the suffering of others. Compassion and empathy go a long way.
If your life is full of comfort, take a walk in an uncomfortable experience. Pay attention to your own emotions.
If you write fiction, get out there and imagine a story for every single person sitting in the coffee shops (or where ever you go to congregate).
And if you are a helping professional ~ Therapists ~ Doctors ~ Counselors ~ Clergy and the like …
Imagine every person you interact with is your mother, grandmother, sister, best friend. Treat them as you would that person you like the most.
I may come across as a salty dog on paper, but in truth, I’m a giant emotional creature who cares too much about humanity. A gift that keeps on giving in a world filled with an empathy and compassion deficit.
One day at a time.
Ya know … living in the middle of a life span is a trippy place to be. We don’t forget that the past 50 happened and we don’t know what the next 50 will look like, but when we synthesize them, we can create a caveat of something that can contribute to the well-being of all those around us.
Don’t be afraid to look directly in the face of the uncomfortable. You built your strength there. It was your teacher.
🙂 Tips are always welcome for writing.
it’s a weird concept in other parts of the world, but in the USA ~ if we just served you a solid cup of word soup, apparently, it’s okay. Feels weird but we’ll see how it goes.
What will you do today to make the world better for someone else?Tweet