Archives for posts with tag: seriously don’t hate

I’m sipping my coffee thinking about challenges, struggles, and practices. Thinking about the discomfort of listening to one friend or another, in one moment or another, going through changes and the frustration of hearing them beef about how hard it all is… and make no mistake, it’s not easy, but… yeah. Do something, though. Just pissing and moaning about how hard life is to sympathetic friends doesn’t have much power to change anything.

Small changes are enough, and over time they make bigger changes. We become what we practice.

Hate all the drama in your life? Choose different relationships (or choose differently in the ones you’ve got). Practice being low drama. Create a drama free zone that is a sacred space for you. Set clear boundaries – and respect them yourself. Hell no, it’s not “easy” – what is? Practice. Then practice some more. We become what we practice.

Hate “who you’ve become”? Well… shit… become someone different than who you are now. I mean… yeah. It is actually “that simple”, although it isn’t “easy”, really, at all. It takes practice. Decisions about who we each are, are not enough – it’s the behavior that creates change in our thinking (although changing our thinking can definitely change our behavior – and you can mix and match).

While we’re on about it – maybe stop “hating” stuff? It’s a poor practice. It allows you to become good at hate. We become what we practice.

So… what are you practicing?

Today is a good day to begin again. Today is a good day to practice being the person you most want to be. ā¤

Don’t hate. I mean it. What a huge start down the path of being the person you most want to be (probably). Just don’t fucking hate people. Don’t say hateful things. Don’t undertake hateful actions. Don’t enable hate. Don’t support hate. Don’t become the embodiment of hate through your words or commerce. Fuck. How god damned hard is that, really??

I’m rather angry this morning at the horrible way some obviously grown adults have been treating the Parkland survivors… over the choice to protest what those survivors see as the pivotal issue in the attack on their school. Let’s get past the rather obvious fact that we live in a country that says it values freedom of speech – if that were really the case, we’d all shut the fuck up and listen once in a while. (When was the last time you politely and earnestly listened to the entire monologue of an associate’s views without interrupting to object or counter them, and did so without a rebuttal?) What I’m most angry about is that, even in that freedom of speech context, there are actual grown ass adults attacking recently traumatized young people – because they are offended by the opinions being expressed (that are subjective, personal, and informed by recent violence)! What the fuck? When did we become monsters?

I just don’t have anything nice to say to someone who thinks their right to fondle a firearm takes a priority over comforting the victims of violence. That’s some clueless douche-baggery right there. That “right to bear arms”? Not a bigger deal that the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Get some fucking perspective.

I take a deep breath. Pull up out of the slime of the depths of the internet. I finish my coffee quickly, still awash in anger – and there it is. The secret sauce of a great many of our most horrible human moments; our anger. I pause quietly and look at my own. It’s often these moments of disappointment with humanity generally, in which I come face-to-face with the things I am still working on myself. Anger is definitely one of those. Few things fuel shitty behavior and vile invective like impotent frustrated rage.

Another deep breath. Anger has a certain intoxicating visceral feel that surges like a drug through my bloodstream. People “high” on anger lose sight of what matters most to them. People suffering from acute anger poisoning aren’t just capable of killing – they become, also, quite capable of feeling righteous and justified in doing so. “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” isn’t something a person reacting to anger still gives a crap about – at least not anyone else’s, and sometimes not even their own. That’s something to contemplate. Is your anger worth killing for? If you think so, how do you reconcile that with that other human being’s right to live their life?

It’s hard to even think about anger without becoming, at some point, angry. Weird. Well, frankly, I have issues. lol You know that; you’re reading this. I’m working on them, though, and even my relationship with anger gets thoroughly scrutinized. I can’t say I have what I consider a healthy relationship with anger – my own or anyone else’s. The experience of extreme anger or rage expressed by other people is highly likely to trigger my PTSD – not helpful, I promise you that. My own anger? I’m not “better than” anyone else; it’s capable of driving some really shitty behavior that I am not content to permit from myself. So. I put in the time and study and practice required to better myself, in some small measure, day-by-day, moment-by-moment, provocation-by-provocation – even on the internet. There are verbs involved. Right now, there’s also a book involved. It’s on my reading list.

Frankly, deep-diving emotion and working to develop and improve emotional intelligence, have seemed to be quite critical on this journey – but it is complicated work, and requires a great deal of practice. Worthwhile. Maybe even the entire purpose of existing as a human being is somehow tangled up in becoming emotionally intelligent, learning to balance emotion and reason, and learning to treat others truly well. I don’t know. I rarely ask the question “what is the meaning of life”. lol Not my question. Doesn’t need my answer.

I do need to begin again. šŸ™‚

Please note: this is not the usual thing, I think, and I’m not really sure quite what “set me off”. I feel vaguely inclined to apologize, or perhaps to at least give you an opportunity to reconsider this one, so… here’s me, alerting you that this is some pent-up ancient anger simmering just under the surface, and, well… a bit of it seeped through, somehow, and bubbled up… and spilled over. So. Angry ranting ahead. Choose wisely. šŸ˜‰ ā¤

One more chance to choose perspective and beauty. Angry ranting ahead… you’ve been warned. šŸ™‚

I made the mistake of scrolling through Facebook first, this morning. Gross. Seeing the ethical and moral decline of a country I feel part of, connected to, is frankly super depressing and… provoking. It irks me to deal with the constant continued attack on women, on people of color, on people who face economic disadvantages, on people who choose reason, on science (and scientists)… all so a small handful of rich old white guys can fatten up their bank accounts and afford enough great medical care to manage a few more self-congratulatory erections and strut around impressing themselves while others suffer. It’s fairly sad and pathetic, on the one hand, and on the other… it enrages me. I’m frustrated, and my emotions bounce between anarchistic anger, and immobilizing learned helplessness; I am not an old rich white guy, not the daughter, wife, or chattel of an old rich white guy, nor subject to any clear benefit that they exist. Still… I persist. It’s an ugly, hateful system that preys on the weak, robs the poor, and penalizes the outspoken.

On the other hand, when I lift my head from Facebook, and put down the new media’s aggressive outrage-generating machinery, and interact directly with the world, I find myself connecting with a lot of other people who, just like me, are angry and unwilling to sit down and shut up about it. I’ve unhesitatingly ended friendships over the past two years solely because I was not inclined to participate in hate. (I’m not seeking praise for that; I have things to atone for over a long life. I will not reach the end of this journey able to say “I never hated anyone and always did my best and cared for my fellow travelers”, and I often find myself so very angry.) I see other people – real people – who actually care. I don’t mean grand gestures that demonstrate with big obvious public actions that we need to care. I don’t mean running for office or protesting in the streets. Those things are needed, too, but… I mean, I see every day people helping each other out, being kind, offering support in a difficult moment, expressing affection, sharing… those things give me hope. There aren’t enough of those things. There’s a lot of fucking hate.

So, I put aside Facebook this morning, resolving to log off social media for the weekend and get some digital downtime. The world can wait on my anger for some other day. I need some rest and I need to recharge and take care of the being of light resting within this fragile vessel.

My heart feels heavy when I think of women who won’t have healthcare forced to bear children they don’t want, on poor timing, because their consent is not sufficiently respected, or who don’t have easy access to birth control. I think of women and girls who could turn the world around with scientific breakthroughs, improvements in technology, great works of engineering, art, or philosophy who lose their opportunity through a willful institutionalized lack of basic respect. I think about women of color. I think about women in poverty. I think about mentally ill women. I think about the woman in the mirror. It feels like a very personal attack on me as a woman every time I see some smug rich geriatric white asshole in office smirking over something else he’s just done or said that diminishes women. If I say so, I get called angry. Fuck yes, I’m angry. Why wouldn’t I be? Do the simple thought exercise; turn the tables in any direction you choose, change the balance of power and put yourself at a chronic institutionalized legislated disadvantage – however you identify yourself, in whatever class or group – make sure you add a hearty helping of no one takes you seriously about that, so you can be both frustrated and demeaned, and take that shit for a test drive. No heroics, make it real. Is it too hard? Well, too bad – at least you get to choose whether to think about it.

Privilege being what it is, I find it hard to see my own. I’ve been making an effort to really really try – because it matters, and because hate is so pervasive, and those who hate tend to be so fucking self-righteous, justified and self-congratulatory about it. I want no part of hate. Ā I study. I listen. I mean, I really full fucking stop take time to listen. It can be hard to hear that I share characteristics with a “problem class of individuals” being both white, and at a point in my life when most of my basic needs are relatively well-met. It’s still necessary to listen, and to understand, and to be part of changing the world.

I’m sure old rich republican white guys think they’re doing women who rely on Planned Parenthood a real favor – go ahead, ask them, they will shove some line of clueless bullshit your way so fast you’ll need an army of fact-checkers on meth to sort that shit out in time to stop some internet troll from climbing on board to turn it into “news”. I’m not immune to being human, and I know I can, will, and do make mistakes that have the potential to hurt people…Ā but I don’t want to be someone insensitive to the impact of my choices on the world around me. Caring matters. Compassionate awareness matters. Acknowledging mistakes matters. Ā I mean… I killed a spider this morning… as killings go, fairly inconsequential and commonplace… but… I bet it seemed like a big deal to that fucking spider. :-\ I think I’ve come some distance as a human being, from the point at which I started life; I have mixed feelings about killing that spider.

Wow. Start the morning with angst-y angry ranting? Why, yes thanks, I think I shall. <sigh> All too human. I think I’ll have a second coffee… and begin again. šŸ˜‰

A few days ago I went into my Facebook settings and ‘followed’ everyone on my friends list. (Over time I had ‘unfollowed’ several friends, for a variety of reasons, and recently recognized how limiting that could potentially beĀ for those friendships.)

I consider myself fairly open-minded at this point in life – though, actually, I ‘always’ did… and… I just wasn’t, for a very long time. I grew up with hate, primarily racism, sexism, and homophobia, with plenty of extra hate laying about for ‘strangers’ and ideas that didn’t suit my community – or my father. He was a fairly well-educated man, professional, with broad life experience and a good intellect. He also thought of himself as ‘open-minded’. He also was not. Definitions of terms are surprisingly stretchy, varying rather a lot between how we apply a word to others, versus how we apply it to ourselves. Why do I mention it? The quantity of peculiarly subtle hate that cropped up in my Facebook feed when I followed everyone on my friends list. I admit I was taken by surprise by the rationalized lack of tolerance, lack of compassion, lack of understanding, and the intensely dogmatic (and more than a little nationalistic) ‘us versus them’ perspective on the world. Fear-based thinking. Entitlement. Ad hominem and straw-man fallacies in abundance. It was an eye-opening and thought-provoking experience. It got me thinking about hate… and the woman in the mirror.

I don’t hate much. I mean that in the verb form, as in “I don’t indulge in the experience of feeling hate, or acting on impulses that may have their source in the experience of hating” when I recognize and can avoid it. I qualify it in that fashion (‘…when I recognize and can avoid it.’) because I’m human. Prone to irrational fears of the unknown, prone to seeing threats where no threat exists, and prone to negative biases – because at one time in the evolution of humanity, we needed those characteristics to secure our safety. Not very useful at this point, I must say, and obviously damnably difficult to let go of, based on what I see in my Facebook feed this past couple days. I’m not immune. I tend toward reactivity, versus responsiveness (as do many of us, it’s very human). I practice another way, deliberately, willfully, and with use of plenty of verbs – because I don’t find positive value in hate. Full stop. No need to justify my values there. This is who I am.

Now.

Yep. There’s the thing; it’s who I am now. I’ve grown and changed a lot over the years. There was a time when I wore hate like a luxurious cloak of finely made fabric; I brandished it, justified it, and felt righteous about my hate. I didn’t call it hate. I didn’t recognize the hateful nature of my words and ideology. I didn’t understand that I was hateful. I didn’t see that I was hurting people. I had little self-awareness and less compassion. I look back on that much younger self of long ago and I am embarrassed – and relieved to be transformed over time, through experience, through choices, and through the patience and acts of loving friends and associates who valued me beyond the hate, the prejudice, and the ignorance.

Thank you. (You know who you are.)

Hate is pretty ugly stuff. A lot of it sources with our fears, and our insecurity about our selves. Worse still, a lot of our fears and our hate, culturally, is manufactured bullshit – created to fatten up someone’s bottom line, either at the polls, or in the marketplace. That’s some sick shit right there, when a human being is willing to foment hate to profit from it personally. I’m not okay with that. I’m okay with being uncomfortable with what I don’t understand. I’m okay withĀ being uneasy about what is strange or new or different. I’m okay with wanting or needing to set boundaries for myself, or havingĀ limitations as a human being – I’m a human being. Hate though? Not actually okay at all – not if IĀ intend to say I am aĀ civilized, rational, reasonable, good-hearted, compassionate, human being. The ‘us/them’ bullshit usedĀ to justify hate is precisely that – it’s bullshit. We are all human beings – even the fairly hateful loathsome ones who push my ability to tolerate human stupidity – and we are each having our own experience. I can’t actually ‘fix this’, though… except with regard to the woman in the mirror. IĀ don’t do hate. It’s a choice. There are verbs involved.

…I have friends (and family) who do. Hate exists because people hate. That’s an unpleasant thing to have to accept… that there are people who matter to me who embrace hate. These are good-hearted people, generally, who likely don’t see themselves in that light, and who don’t recognize their words or behavior as hateful. They feel justified. They are also having their own experience. I am uncomfortable with hate. I find myself facing an interesting life lesson here. I am thankful that friends and loved ones who knew a more hateful younger me didn’t turn away from me;Ā over time it changed me to see another way modeled by people I value.

There’s no denouement here, no handy lesson, no easy solution or catchy final paragraph wherein the good guys win. This is life. This is messy. This is challenging. Change and growth don’t come easily – and can’t be forced. I can continue, myself, to grow, to do better than I did a year ago, and to practice good practices, learning to treat myself – and the world – truly well. I can refuse, myself, to hate. I hope it’s enough.