Archives for posts with tag: use your words don’t fire them down range

I am sipping my morning coffee, considering the walk I am eager to want to take. I’m “not there yet”. lol My muscles ache from pushing myself, already. I’m not bitching about it, and I’m not unhappy over it. Sore muscles are muscles working a bit harder, doing more things that need done, and becoming more capable of more work. Consistency is a requirement for forward progress; if I skip the walk today over sore muscles, I don’t make as much progress toward my goals, nor as quickly, so… at some point? Walking. I’m not looking forward to the walking itself, although I’d like to. I am in pain. The walking helps the pain in my back and my neck (osteoarthritis), but is less helpful with the bad ankle that has to support the weight. Without walking, the weight remains an issue. With the walking, the ankle is an issue. I’m not saying it as though this is an unsolvable conundrum, either, just saying that these complications are part of my experience. 🙂 There’s a metaphor here…

It’s a journey with a lot of steps.

We become what we practice. Emotionally and physically. There’s not a lot of room to argue on this one. Are you hot tempered, easily frustrated, quick to react, and tending to fall back on negative feedback and criticism to communicate your needs? Well, that’s the person you become, over time, in a fixed and rather predictably unpleasant way. Are you tender-hearted, prone to tears in the face of negative feedback, (whether or not it is accurate or well-intended, or useful at all) particularly when it comes from someone whose opinion you value? Same slope; you become more of who you already are, and what you choose to do with the toxicity of the world around you, because it is what you practice. You may get called a bitch when you demand that your agency be respected, or when you insist on not being interrupted in a meeting, but that lack of boundary-setting? It’s a practice, too.

…Also? Don’t be a dick. Don’t be a bitch. Don’t call someone names, either; how about we start there? Speak gently. Be clear, and also honest. “Stay in your lane” in the sense that not every opinion you have actually needs to be shared (particularly with regard to your aesthetic, and someone else’s appearance). Check your assumptions – a lot of them are wrong (the science is in on that) – and practice deep listening, instead of waiting for your turn to talk.

Does it sound like I’m venting aimlessly, about commonplace bullshit we all seem to engage in, if not regularly, then once in a while? Well… then I’ve failed to communicate clearly. I’ll try again…

Your words matter. Use them with care. If you are communicating with someone you say you love, communicate with love – real love, using words and tone that make it very clear that the love is first and foremost in your mind, rather than some momentary frustration. Our bitterness, our hurt, our anger – once shared, it’s out there. Shared with emotional force, and absent the love that may be part of our experience, it causes real harms, real doubts about our affection, and can undermine that love we cherish so much.

Don’t let the sun set on a treasured relationship without saying something encouraging, supportive, authentically affectionate – the smallest moment of authentic appreciation and praise can change the color of an entire day. I am fairly certain most of us share negative feedback with cherished others almost every day… imagine the crushing weight of all that criticism, all that negativity, the constant pressure to raise oneself up from beneath the weight of it… Let’s not do that. Let’s handle our words with greater care, ensuring that we take more time for what is positive and uplifting that we do for things we see as problems needing correction.

I challenge you to practice even a 1 to 1 ratio of (authentic) compliments and (sincere) encouragement to criticism and requests for change. I hope you find that incredibly easy (and succeed) – because people need more love and encouragement than that, and as starting points go, it’s a bare minimum for success. I promise you that if you are only sharing negative feedback, that’s all that is being heard. That sounds like a pretty terrible experience to be on the receiving end of, just saying. Use your words as a force for good in your life, use them to lift others up, to encourage what is positive in everyone you meet.

A lot of people may grow up in environments in which very little positive feedback is shared, or the positive words are hollow superlatives about qualities they can’t control, and no attention given to the whole person. People coming from that place may not know how to give authentic positive feedback, and may genuinely not understand why it is necessary. They need to see it done, to feel it, before it will be something they can easily practice themselves. Is that someone part of your life? Be open to explicitly telling them what you need to hear – without excuses, or a need to justify yourself. It’s okay to need what you need, and it’s also quite okay to ask for it. 🙂 “I need you to say something nice to me right now.” may feel weird to say, but it is one place to start. 🙂

We’re all so human. There’s so much stress and hostility in the world right now. Our culture feels so toxic. Be someone who understands there is work to be done, and recognize you can do some of it. Be someone willing to do it. Be the change we need. Speak gently. Be encouraging and kind. Soften your tone. Be trustworthy. Be honest without being mean. Let small shit go. Don’t drink the poison offered to you. Don’t offer others poison.

Don’t like the world as it is? Be part of what changes it. We become what we practice. Practice being the person you truly most want to be. Every choice, every interaction, every day. Sometimes you will fail (I know I do); your results will vary. Practice more. 🙂 Be that better version of yourself, because you choose it, and it matters. Other people may not make these choices – don’t drink the poison they offer you, and walk your own path. 😉

It’s time to begin again.

I wrote a lot of rather angry words this morning. I’ve deleted them. I’m reluctant to give OPD (Other People’s Drama) that much of my time – or to allow it to take that much of yours, either. I’ve done my best not to waste time ranting…but…I suspect it comes across a bit more that, than not. 🙂

Saving the world over my morning coffee...or something similar.

Thoughts and coffee

I sip my coffee and think over the whole point I thought I was getting to on the first draft (and the second, and third)… I think I was using way too many words just to communicate something simple – a caution? More a request. Please don’t be vile, nasty, bad-tempered, callous, cruel or mean to people you say you care about. It is mistreatment. In a perfect world, people don’t stick around for that shit, but we’re imperfect beings, and trudging through bullshit is sometimes part of the journey; we end up too willing to tolerate abuse. Love is not nurtured by mistreatment – and how much of your nastiness your loved ones can withstand is not an ideal measure of their affection.

Oh, hey, while I’m at it – please don’t be vile, nasty, bad-tempered, callous, cruel or mean with strangers, either. Realistically, you don’t know them well enough for them to warrant any sort of mistreatment, and it amounts to unkindness that just makes the world a shitty place. Stop it. Seriously? How do you excuse that shit?

Thinking it over, if it is unacceptable to mistreat our loved ones (which, frankly, it totally is), and also unacceptable to mistreat total strangers (and, I mean, why would you?)…how is it justifiable to mistreat all those people in between? You know the stuff I mean: being rude to a waitress, or nasty to a check-out clerk, or barista, or dismissive toward the landscapers, the mail carrier, or a telemarketer is all just as unacceptable and inappropriate – certainly, it is rude, and unnecessary. They are human. You are human, too. End of conflict… or, it easily could be. Your choices matter.

Being a better human being than you were yesterday is as simple as making just one choice to treat someone a little better than you might have – make it easy, start with people who really matter to you. (If someone ‘really matters’ to you, how do you justify treating them badly with purpose, deliberately, aware of the outcome, in the first place?) Here’s the thing – we like to think that we are not doing these things willfully –  it’s ‘happening’, ‘things just went wrong’ in a bad moment, we ‘didn’t mean it’ or some how meant it differently but lost our cool, or… but… that only holds up the first time. After that, it’s a choice, perhaps a habit, or worse a character quality, and it is definitely mistreatment and also entirely and completely unacceptable bad behavior.

How are you adding to global happiness?

How are you adding to global happiness?

Sorry about the lecture-y demanding irritated tone; we’re all human here, and feeling cared for and being heard matters to each of us. You are probably frustrated by these things, too. (I am finding it hard to watch from the sideline as someone I love is mistreated in another relationship, and I am not the sort to pretend I don’t see it, or to make excuses for bad behavior.) There’s no ‘chicken or egg’ paradox to mistreatment, either – that’s verbal slight of hand used by people to excuse abusive bullshit, and it doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. Tit for tat nastiness between lovers is just another variety of mistreatment, still unacceptable. Mistreatment is mistreatment. Make all the excuses you want to, the excuses do not change the behavior. We all have moments when we fall short of being that person we most want to be, but it does matter to make the attempt, and to address our poor behavior toward others, honestly, and openly, being fully accountable for our bad behavior, and poor decision-making. We all have opportunities to choose to listen deeply, to be open to understanding someone else’s experience, to demonstrate compassion, and to show growth – sadly, we don’t all take those opportunities when they come.

I tried a number of times to ‘find the right words’ this morning. My annoyance gets in the way of taking a lighter tone. I am frustrated at how easily human beings justify their shitty treatment of others. Seriously? How is abusing people we [say we] love even a thing? Personally, I find it most effective to snarl ‘go fuck yourself, that bullshit isn’t love at all’ and walk on – because when someone mistreats me, I do not feel loved. I no longer allow abuse to be part of my definition of love, loving, or being loved. “Love” is a verb, and it does not include abuse, mistreatment, or emotional weapons of mass distraction. Those are their own experiences, their own verbs, and choosing them is no demonstration of love – and it very much is a choice.

I could have just said “Wheaton’s Law, people, damn!” and saved a couple hundred words from being misused this morning… or maybe suggested a sing-a-long…  Be kind – there’s a surplus of jerks in the world these days. Be genuine – there’s also a surplus of shifty pretenders, and the real you is by far more worthy. Be considerate – we’re all human, each having our own experience, each suffering under the weight of the burdens we choose to bear, each worthy of being treated well.

Be love. That’s the thing most worth being.