It’s been a rough week.
If you spend any time on social media, I probably don’t have to tell you why.
We’re all hurting. These are scary times. And everyone has different ideas for solving the problem. Unfortunately, we don’t all agree.
This week, I’ve run myself ragged trying to “fix” everything – or at least, change people’s opinions about everything. I’ve wasted too many days and sleepless nights just yelling into the void, along with everyone else.
One thing led to another. I started arguing with family members. As could be expected, nobody won. We just grew more bitter and emotional, depleted of energy that could have gone toward something better.
Nobody (in the history of ever) has suddenly changed their mind because of something they read on Facebook. I’ve never had an epiphany from someone saying I was stupid.
Truth doesn’t exactly rain down on us when we’re being defensive.
No one wants to be wrong…but in fighting each other, we all are.
I become wrong the second I start hating on somebody else. No matter how much I disagree with the choices other people make, there’s a right way and a wrong way to communicate. This week, I chose resentment… and it made things worse.
There’s a reason why an opinion is called a “view.” It’s what you see, from where you are.
Say my neighbor comes knocking on my door. I answer, and he starts yelling at me.
“My house got robbed next door,” he says. “Why didn’t you say something? This is your fault!”
What? I’ve been standing in my house all day. All I see are my closed curtains.
“I’m sorry,” I tell my neighbor. “I didn’t see a burglar.”
He doesn’t buy it. “If you didn’t see it, that means you’re the problem.”
Look…I’m sorry that his house got robbed, but now he’s blaming me for it. Now I’m the one feeling defensive. This whole thing is all his fault.
“I didn’t see your house get robbed, so you must be the one making it up!” I yell.
I’m pissed, he’s pissed. Now we’re offended, and we’re fighting.
But both of us are wrong.
We could just admit that we didn’t see the same thing, and forgive each other for having different views. But we’d each rather be RIGHT.
Meanwhile, my kettle is boiling over and the neighbor’s burglar is miles away.
By fighting over opinions, we’ve made the facts worse.
I’ve been the angry neighbor and the hostile homebody, multiple times this week. I was offended by people who attacked me for not sharing their views. I threw shade at others who refused to accept the truth, as I saw it. Meanwhile, violence erupted all over the country and my nasty words did nothing to stop it.
Anger, resentment and fear are the broken parts. We can’t fix damage with damage.
I could have written a email to my congressman, voicing my concerns; I could have called on legislators, or started a petition. But I was too busy fighting opinions. I made myself part of the problem, instead of the solution.
They say the greatest way to retain knowledge is to share it… so let’s BOTH learn from my mistakes this week, eh? If you’d like to some tips on how to talk to your friends and family about difficult issues [without provoking conflict], here’s a cheat-sheet for peaceful communication. I wrote it, but John Cena helped A LOT. He’s a real stand-up guy.
You can read it on LoveTV, here:
Even better – if you want to go beyond friends and family to really make a difference, you can contact your elected officials here and tell them what you think should be done.
We can all take action to promote change, but this doesn’t require conflict.
This world has 99+ problems. I don’t want to be one.
So whether you’re for #BlackLivesMatter or not, or you’re for gun control or against it, or you’re a Republican, Democrat, Socialist, Libertarian, or Canadian… I just want to say that I respect you as a human being.
You deserve acceptance and love. I want to offer them to you, even if we have drastically different views. Emotions may be high right now, but we all are worthy of empathy, understanding, and peace.
Life is too valuable to waste on violence and resentment.
So let’s just love, and see what happens.
Hang in there.