It’s ok to let people who seem perfectly fine know that you’re there for them and will listen without judgment if they ever just want to talk. Because the potential awkwardness in doing this is still far less significant than the potential consequences for not.
“If I were you.”
When giving advice to those who ask for it, remember that what you would do isn’t always in the best interest of the person you’re giving advice to.
Often, the most effective advice involves revealing pathways & illuminating doors and letting the person you’re providing advice to decide for themselves which one is in their own best interest to take.
The world has enough people acting badly, spewing negativity, and making life unpleasant for others – and every single one of them feels justified for doing so.
We can do better. In every single one of your encounters today – whether online or in the real world – look for ways to support & encourage people. Seek out opportunities to make others smile. And put in the effort to create memories worth having.
Remember that every person you encounter has feelings. And that sometimes the person you think might have no need for your kind words & encouragement is the one that could use them the most.
It often starts with rightly standing up against something you don’t approve of. But if you’re not careful, you begin to take on behaviors of your opponents and act in ways that you originally disapproved of.
Dammit, Zero. If only you could have found a better way to suggest that someone who was behaving badly act better than by pointing out that they weren’t setting a good example for the millions of people who follow them.
I mean, what if they actually see what you said about what they shared with millions of people? What if they’re embarrassed by it? What if they get angry with you for pointing out their bad behavior?
Or what if — just for a second — they think about what I actually said and — maybe, just maybe — it has the potential to get them to remember the type of person they want to be and actually change their approach and begin to set a better example for the MILLIONS of people who follow them?
I’ll take the possibility of unsettling someone for a moment any day for a chance at getting a person with a tremendous amount of influence to set a good example for millions of people.
If the person representing your opinion or desired way of life is exhibiting signs of bad behavior when they do it, you can be certain that the majority of people the message is intended for will focus on the bad behavior and ignore the message.
You can cheer on the champions of your cause all you want, but if they’re not setting a good example when they represent your ideas, they’re doing more to ensure that your cause or organization will be perceived badly than they are in changing anyone’s mind.
Those who represent you aren’t doing you any favors if they’re not setting a good example when they do it. And if they’re communicating your ideas in a way that your opposition isn’t receptive to, you can be almost certain that the bad behavior is what they see, not the ideas.
Just because you agree with the message being shared doesn’t mean you should tolerate or ignore the bad behavior of the person conveying it.
Just a reminder that not everyone you connect with is working with the same level of awareness or maturity or mindset. And certainly, no two people are working from the same set of life experiences.
Some people you encounter online seem to have such high standards that it would be nearly impossible to meet them, and yet their own personal standards are so low that the only enjoyment they get is in trying to exert their dominance over others or make other people feel bad. Some of the people you encounter beat their wives or their children. Some of them solicit prostitutes in their private life while preaching the sanctity of marriage in their public one. Some of them have weapons caches and manifestos. And some of those same people are planning what will become the next mass shooting.
Some of the people you encounter put themselves to sleep with alcohol every night. And some of them want to preach to you about how to live your life and tell you why your ideas about anything they disagree with are wrong. Some of the people you encounter will tell you who or what you should respect while simultaneously having no respect for themselves or others. Some of the people you encounter believe that the world would be better off if anyone with an opposing opinion, different skin color, or different religion didn’t exist. And even some who claim to worship a loving God are the same people who don’t hesitate to wish death upon those who don’t live their lives the same way they do.
Some of these people demand that you respect their opinion or their way of life while at no time showing any respect for your own. They will hurl insults, make threats, and say derogatory things while extolling upon the reasons why their desired way of life is better than yours.
And as much as all of these things may want you to return hate with hate, it isn’t the answer. Because hate isn’t going to solve our problems. And we can all find far better ways to deal with life’s issues than attempting to use hate as a means to fix problems and get what we want.
It should go without saying, but there are alternatives to getting angry, being hateful, and wanting to see other people suffer because they don’t believe the same things that you do. And those alternatives are likely are a far better reflection of the person you truly want to be than the person you are when you are trying to hurt people.
Your insults, no matter how witty, aren’t doing anything to advance your cause. And your nasty remarks aren’t doing you any favors either.
Your hate isn’t helping.
You can be almost certain that the path to a better future doesn’t involve saying things to other people that if other people said them to you, you’d accuse them of behaving badly.
We can do better. More hate is not the answer.
The amount of disinformation that is going to be spread between now and the next election is going to be unlike anything ever seen or experienced before. And it’s already starting.
It is going to be used to get people to react emotionally. It is going to be used to divide people. It is going to be used to cause confusion. And distrust. And fear. And some of it will be used to incite violence. And some of it will lead to people’s deaths. Possibly many.
And we are by no means prepared for it because we are all still vulnerable to it. And that’s scary.
Try to always keep in mind who you truly want to be and how you truly want to act. And try to think with reason before you act or jump to conclusions. No matter how much something makes you want to respond. No matter how wrong you think something is. Because even with the best of intentions, if your emotions and your knee-jerk reaction can be used against you, it likely will be.
If you go out of your way to be friendly and nice to people, for no reason other than it just feels good or like the right thing to do, THANK YOU.
Even if (and when) it means people don’t always see or appreciate it, THANK YOU.
Even if your desire to help others or make them more comfortable sometimes gets you into trouble, THANK YOU.
Even if what you did was “no trouble” or “the easiest thing to do” or “any decent human being would have done it”, THANK YOU.
Even if you do these things without the need for acknowledgment, THANK YOU.
Because if you’ve done these things, you’ve touched many lives, including my own — directly or indirectly — and you deserve to be thanked whether you think you do or not.
So THANK YOU.
And please carry on doing what you do, like I know you will, whether you read this or not.
You rock. THANK YOU.