Today on Facebook I read a post that deflated me. It wasn’t sad, no animals were harmed and it wasn’t full of needless expletives. But it spoke of an epidemic of ignorance of who we truly are that is so pervasive in our society that I had to respond to it. Only I didn’t. Not directly. Instead I posted my thoughts about it on my own newsfeed without identifying the source or any details.
I wanted to respond but I knew it would only expand the negativity, poking the bear, rather than disarming the situation or change anything for the better.
The short of it is this: There was a video of a celebrity doing something positive, but because this celebrity is controversial all the remarks on this person’s post were derogatory and downright mean. They were personally attacking someone they didn’t even know personally.
It may be fun and even feel a little powerful, if you can recruit others in a gossip fest, but in the end it is waste of precious life force. Making it the most harmful and hurtful to the ones gossiping.
Not that I haven’t done this. Hasn’t everyone? What I believe we’re doing is recognizing our perceived failings in another and directing our self-loathing outward as if that will rid us of it. At our lowest points, we draw conclusions and make assumptions about others all in the service of our own fragile egos, trying to elevate our self-esteem by pointing out the shortcomings of another. They are the mirror for our fear that we are not enough.
What if every time we caught ourselves in a verbal eye roll, or hissing like a snake on our keyboards or phone, we just stopped? What if we directed all that venom at ourselves? Because that’s what we’re really doing. That celebrity will feel none of that acrimony, yet those sending daggers feel EVERY bit of it.
We have the option and the power to transmute that energy into something beautiful and real. Re-channel it. Do some art. Write in your journal. Take a walk in nature. Breathe. Look at the sky.
What would happen, do you think, if all the news media began reporting on charitable organizations and those being helped? What if celebrity magazines only photographed and spotlighted companies and individuals, and yes, celebrities making a difference in their city, town or country? What if the newspaper was full of stories about people helping other people, kittens and dogs being rescued or rescuing, or illustrations on the power of love?
Idealistic? Of course. Unrealistic? No.
I don’t think we are here to tear each other down – even from a distance – in order to lift ourselves up. It doesn’t work. We are meant to uplift one another, to make things better for each other. There is a quote, or prayer, really, by Marianne Williamson that I have always loved, “Help me remember that my job is to love the world back to health.”
How our choices and words might be so different if that were our job description.