Debates, anger, passion, hate, division...
If you can't find any truth in the "other" side...
You're not looking hard enough.
If you can't find something beautiful to love in someone else...
You're not looking hard enough.
Pick a topic, debate, controversy -
Someone, somewhere believes the exact opposite as you.
Our experiences help shape us.
That is why we are all so unique.
Countless different ways to see, hear, smell, feel, touch the world.
Countless ways to abuse and be abused.
Countless ways to heal, love, and be loved.
Black and White will never be able to paint a complete picture.
The only real Truths:
Love, connection, discussion, listening, open arms, hearts, and minds, patience, Time.
If you've never tried on the words:
"What if you were me... what if I were you?"
Now's the time.
If you can't understand why someone else thinks, feels, BELIEVES, differently than you...
You're not listening hard enough. You're not thinking hard enough. You're not trying hard enough.
Lately I get onto Facebook and I scroll through my feed (as I do) and it just amazes me. The things that are controversial are just, well... kind of mind blowing. I mean there are the normal "BIG" debates in parenting circles and politics: e.g. abortion, vaccines, full-term breastfeeding, environmental issues, war, etc. etc. But really you can pick anything - and I do mean ANYTHING - and it can turned into a heated debate: drinking (cow's!) milk, celebrating Halloween, posting personal pictures online, when to turn your child forward in their car-seat - those are just a few that popped into my head right now, but I think you get the idea!
Ok, so I went over to my facebook page to take a quick peek to see what I could find. This picture was almost immediately in my feed (and I've linked it to give credit if you care). ummm can I just say wow. As a friend commented - if you feel that strongly about this you better start looking at everything you buy! (Which I think may be the point of this particular page actually, and even a worthy to think about for many.) But this is just ONE example of something people get really worked up about.
I mean - is it me or does EVERYONE have an opinion about EVERYTHING?? I know what some of you might be thinking - *You* (Susan D May) do too! I really do. I'm WAY more opinionated now than I've ever been. I mean seriously - I have some strong, "out there" (by mainstream standards) opinions. So it's not that I'm against HAVING opinions. Nah - it's be a pretty boring world, filled with boring people if we didn't have our own thoughts and beliefs. But honestly, I just can't seem to get worked up about too many things anymore. And when I do - I quickly return to a more peaceful state instead of getting more and more fired up. I don't have the time or energy to work myself into a tizzy about every little thing that someone else has an opinion on. My kids are growing up right in front of my eyes and we are busy and at the moment I seem to be barely keeping on top of things one day at a time.
Two years ago I made a Desire Map and two of the words I chose were "peaceful" and "on fire". Even at the time, I recognized how difficult it was to be both. When I started this blog I was regularly ON FIRE. I had something to say and share and I wanted to get it out to the world, STAT! I often stayed up till midnight or later pouring my thoughts out. Then I would click "post" and share what I wrote on Facebook and the adrenaline rush that followed would keep me awake even later! (Then I would wake in the morning and find that the sun still rose, the world was still spinning the same way, and people were still going about their daily lives the same as usual.) By the time a year had passed I felt that I was almost "Awake" - Meaning I was interested in achieving what this quote says:
"Once you awaken, you will have no interest in judging those who sleep." James Blanchard
But clearly when you are ON FIRE you are feeling passionate, and passion often causes us to think we have the "right" answer (aka "judge" others.)
Now, I'm not claiming that I don't "judge" others. I actually think that judging - as in forming opinions - is part of the human experience. It's fine to have opinions; it's fine to make judgments.
So what's my point? My point is - it's not the opinion or what you believe that matters - what matters is HOW you express your feelings, WHEN and WHERE you choose to express your thoughts, and WHO and WHY you choose to express your beliefs to.
These are not easy things to discern. I sometimes think I am kind of a wimp when it comes to sticking up for kids in real life. I'm way more likely to look the other way than I am to say, "hey! that's not right!" Partly, because I'm still figuring out what is the KINDEST way to help both children and those that care for them. And usually the answer is right there in that sentence I just typed - instead of telling people off when *I* think they aren't being kind enough, I can offer HELP. What can I do? How can I help you? How can I love and support you so that YOU can be your best self?
Because in the end I TRULY believe that we are all doing the best we can. I just have to REMEMBER that I believe that. People love their children. People want to do right by their children and loved ones. So, yes I have very strong opinions about how to treat children. But I'm no longer feeling the fire of my opinions burn me up every day. It's far more important that I let my thoughts, feelings, and beliefs guide me in how I treat my loved ones than spend my time debating every nuance on the internet. It's far more important that I build real connections with ALL of the people that cross my path every day, than spend spending my time judging every action and word that leaves their mouth.
I know that I am but one voice. I know that nothing I say here is original. I know I'm repeating myself. I have read many books and articles about treating others with compassion. The message is real and it's out there for people to find in their own way and time. I cannot control everyone else - I can only choose my own path, as mindfully and respectfully as I possibly can. And since I am human I will make mistakes. I will stumble and fall. I will run into others and hurt them. I will fail to stay the course I have chosen. I will be a hypocrite. But then I will remember that I love myself and I will try again. I will try to offer this grace to others too, and I hope people will do the same to me.
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Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.