Your beliefs should be a light by which you see, not a substitute for seeing
I think for myself, because I realize I am influenced by other people and things. Now that may sound cuckoo- if I'm influenced by others then how am I thinking for myself?
Great question- glad you asked!
That's truly what awareness looks like; being aware of your limitations of thought, your bias, and all that other human-ness.
Turning that awareness around on others, sometimes simply asking why they believe the way they do, is often cause for a virtual fist-fight. Tweets-a-flying! Comments-a-blasting! We can type a million words per minute, and since discussion is happening at warp speed, we don't really use good ol' fashioned conversation skills.
Slow down and read the fine print before you get offended.
Beliefs are often personal, and if it's personal, it's bias. So you're bias and everyone around you is too. Congratulations!
But when you're walking around with the notion that your politics, for instance, just appeared out of thin air, by some divine right, or a personal experience (that screams bias), you'll trip on your own ignorance. It demonstrates a misunderstanding of yourself (Lesson #1: We're all human), and a perpetual misunderstanding of everyone else.
Nobody is right or wrong, which makes discussion so crucial.
Discussion is literally just tossing around a few ideas, not a war of thoughts, with one winner.
If you are not interested in civil discussion, walk away accusing others, throw your hands up in the air, or hand out personal insults like candy on Halloween night, then you must have bypassed the human thing (please see "Lesson #1"). Not understanding (or caring) where your beliefs arise from can get you a one-way ticket to LaLaLand where you'll spend the rest of your life being the village idiot.
People tend to place all their bets (and beliefs) on how they want to be seen by others- I call this the superficial social justice warrior:
'If I'm caring I must support all immigration'.
'If I'm a good and decent law abiding citizen, I support only legal immigration'.
Then people pull enough weight on their side so that they need not look over the wall of people they've surrounded themselves with.
When I see a protest, I see a wall of people ironically fighting against walls and some sh*t.
Sure, it feels good to surround yourself with those people who agree with you, but isn't that a wall too?
I believe the discussions need to happen. Here's what I think. Here's what you think. We don't have to agree, we just need to listen. Then reflect. Rinse and repeat.
We need to be exposed to people who do not think exactly like us. Asking for "safe spaces" is essentially another wall around someone that protects them from the real world.
I'm always open for discussion...
Believe it or not, you're completely comfortable when you call yourself an idiot, but you freak out the moment an online stranger suggests that you are.
Total nonsense folks! Almost daily I can't believe what people find offensive!
Not much offends me because I've heard worse from the bully staring back at me in the mirror.
And you have offended yourself more times than you even realize.
A teeny tiny tweet offends us though. Entire groups of people potentially offend us. We're an offended, micro-aggressive, and triggered society. But it's not like we haven't heard worse in our own brains. I'm referring to self-talk.
Have you heard yourself lately?
Self-talk is merely running commentary in your head that can happen without you realizing it. What your self-talk reveals is hardly ever a reality. Most people learn to, or choose to, ignore this little voice.
Negative self-talk comes to you as naturally as breathing. These offensive messages are true or not true based on your own preexisting self-image.
If we paid attention to all our negative self talk it would literally drive us nuts. We all have it to some degree, and people actually listen to it on varying degrees too. The more you listen, give awareness and attention to it, the unhappier you are.The same goes for all the online dialogue or offensive people we give credit (and attention to).
There's two ways of getting attention in our current culture: exceptional positivity and exceptional negativity. People turn their attention to these extremes. Real life is somewhere in the middle. Of course you know I'd like to see more of that represented online, but that's not the current virtual climate.
Let's be honest here! You have called yourself worse names than anyone else. You have wrongly assumed others have offended you even more often than that.
Get real moment: Where does negative self-talk come from? Our negative self-talk can come from something awful we heard directed at us as kids. It can come from people we care about.
I remember my dad calling me stupid for doing poorly on math homework. I must have believed it for a time because I worked really hard to learn more. Some would call that incentive, but after a while I had to give credit to myself, instead of my dad, because he wasn't learning this stuff for me- I was. Apparently I wasn't that stupid. Disinterested in math? That's more like it!
People repeat and project negative self-talk onto others.
We can't help what we've heard, but we can take responsibility to tune out the old broken record and tune out those who support it until it all becomes background noise. When you give others that attention, you are reinforcing that negative script in your head.
Surprising how people are so quick to get offended by others when the dialogue running through their own mind is more self-afflicting.
So how do we get off this merry-go-round?
A technique similar to meditation can help you give less credit to the negative, whether it's your own inner jerk or some online goof who wants nothing to do with brightening up your day.
Meditation is the act of watching thoughts go by, without any attachment, or attention, but instead merely awareness. The ugly words are there in your head- if you spend enough time online, the ugly words are bursting at the seams there too.
Practice acknowledging them, but watch them go by, like thoughts that float past you on a river. They will likely always be there, but don't give them the attention.
If you notice, some people are ruled by the asshole that lives in their heads- they're really down on themselves and it has become society's task to protect them from themselves. I say nonsense; this is a personal task. We are given practice by handling our own inner talk.
We all have that little jerk that tells us we're not good enough; even the most confident people. Staying sane means ignoring that shit! Some people let this asshole rule their lives. Other people let other assholes ruin their lives.
Ultimately, to live a happier life, we have to ignore the inner negative talk AND that rude talk from others as well. Almost anything can seem offensive when you operate from a mentality that gives negativity too much credit.
Next time someone else offends you, ask yourself what it is you're saying to yourself that makes this person right about you? Or that they deserve any credit for upsetting you.
Nobody is there to protect you from your own self-talk. We are meant to adapt to it and learn it's not as important as we think- it doesn't deserve our attention. It would serve us well to ignore the things others say that offend us too.
I've been against political correctness, well, ever since it exploded into sheer insanity. We are either communicating less with one another, or more volatile than ever. Walking on eggshells has never been healthy for anyone and now we are collectively creating this type of relationship with society, embedded into our culture.
If it speaks- it stings.
The enemy is turning on itself now. We're seeing people who once represented progress and diversity, such as Covergirl's first male model donning Covergirl makeup: James Charles who is now under fire for a recent tweet. Traveling to Africa, he said he hopes not to get Ebola. He made an unmistakable association between Ebola and Africa/African Americans. It was an honestly, awful joke, but now it has turned into blatant accusations toward him and real people believing they should be hurt because others announced this offense. What was an honest "mistake" has been blown into character assassinations. Nobody is immune!
Intent is 9/10's of the conversation.
This scenario is one of many that proves we have lost our ability to read between the lines or consider intent, or at least the person (whether they intend to harm). Reading words exclusively at face value is a slippery slope- one that will eventually lead us all to be victims or to easily point our fingers and make someone else a victim. Was James Charles meaning to harm the African culture or people? I doubt it. But here we go...
Is this the world you want to live in?
"Officially the first time in human history that every single demographic group has simultaneously felt unfairly victimized."
I'm not a psychic, but the future of political correctness leads to being our own worst enemy...because we are so different in tastes, talk, and even humor. There needs to be grace and forgiveness in these unintentional mishaps. What was originally put into place as a seemingly benign effort at protecting people of diversity, is negatively effecting the diverse as well. Clearly, we need a lesson in acceptance on the very fact that we are imperfect humans. If there is no room for that, there is no hope for humanity.
This is apples and oranges folks!
I am not against immigrants. I am against all people who break the law. No human is illegal, unless they do something illegal.
But riddle me this...have you noticed people are are conveniently leaving off the "illegal" part now. I see signs a-waving, t-shirts, and shout-outs about "immigration", but "Illegal" is never mentioned in conjunction with it.
I am against "illegal immigration" and any other illegal activity - don't lump me into the wrong category by default that all people against illegal immigration are against immigration. Not even the same. It's like answering your door. Somebody knocks or rings the doorbell, you peak to see who it is before you answer. You want to know who you're letting in your house. It's not rude. It's normal, right?!
And yes, my family was once immigrants.
The immigration process is different now. So is EVERYTHING else. I bet my ancestors didn't have to fill out a 10 page form (plus fingerprint) to visit their child during school lunch breaks.
This is the 21st century- all things have changed...and so has the process for immigration. You can't pick and choose your progress. When one thing changes, many others do too. Rules and regulations are established in every aspect of our lives, more so than decades ago, and centuries ago.
If you think that's harsh, try cutting down a cactus in Arizona. You could be sentenced to 25 years in prison.
During my adolescence I slept next to George Michael plastered on my wall. I'm not sure who I thought he was as a person, but he represented a handsome, greek-godly figure in my eyes at the time.
From a distance we are all guilty of admiring fame, success, and fortune for a variety of reasons. Later we learn it is not as glamorous as it might seem, even for the greatest of talents. Essentially they are tortured souls who are liked, loved, adored and admired by millions.
A quick glimpse inside the lives of George Michael and Prince (who both passed this year), we've discovered that achieving the pinnacle of popular appeal, doesn't lead to a happier life yet people still scramble for mass acknowledgement.
These two beloved entertainers led turbulent and often self-destructive lives -not the life of luxury and happiness we would imagine for someone liked by so many.
If being liked feels great, it can't be as good as being yourself. You are living for others when you are playing to your fans.
George Michael stated: "I was too immature to know I was sacrificing as much as I was."
A sacrifice of self.
To be friends with people or to appeal to others, we have to be liked on some level. The trick is to juggle (or balance) our sense of self and our need to be liked.
"If someone really wants to hurt you, they'll find a way. I don't want to live my life worrying about it anymore."
Wine Advice + Uncommon Sense
Everybody needs to express themselves in some form- mine happens to be written form...with an opinion. Occasionally I get in the mood for some wine and answer life's tricky questions.