The Have It Your Way Era

 

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It seems we live in a world of Delete. Block. Defriend.

Or as I affectionately call it,
The Have It Your Way Era.

 
You don’t like what someone said on your news feed? Delete their comments! This is YOUR Facebook, after all…

 
Are they bugging you with what they post? You don’t like that? Block ‘em!

 
Someone told you that you are using a word wrong? Or maybe they believe the 97% of scientists who think climate change is real? Defriend them. Who needs that kind of drama? You are educated and don’t need anyone to tell you what to think.

 
I’m going to just say it flat out that I find this behavior just ridiculous for grown adults. It’s like Middle School America around here.

 
I have a lot of friends with a lot of varying opinions and faiths and political preferences. People from all over the world with a wide range of lifestyles. I do not block you or defriend you for this. I will boot your ass for name calling and downright threats, but I’d also do that if you were nasty in my living room. But, in truth, most people simmer down with a warning. Or go away on their own. Thankfully, I get very little drama on my feed. It seems that despite all the diversity, I have civil and open-minded adults as friends.

 
But it seems that some adults believe if they delete, then those things didn’t happen. Or maybe weren’t real? I don’t know, because I don’t get it.

 
I don’t do the delete game. I don’t delete, unless I accidently posted a rainbow or something. I will go in and edit small grammatical stuff, because pretty much everything I do happens while I’m wrangling a toddler and a cat and maybe a dog and a 6-year-old. And I’m kind of a perfectionist so I want to sound like I can formulate sentences. But otherwise, what I post, STAYS. Always. You know why? Because I don’t post it unless I believe it enough to stand behind it. It’s as simple as that.

 
And because I KNOW that even if I delete something, that it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. And ultimately, WE still know what WE said. Or what someone else said. We can’t UNDO it or make it unhappen. We all know this, right? RIGHT?

 
It’s like doing something stupid and getting drunk to forget about it. And then you get so wasted that you black out so you just assume that means that none of it happened.

 
Uh, no. It still happened. Still real. You just blocked it out.

 
Which is kind of how so many seem to look at life right now.

 
“I don’t like that. It bothers me. I don’t need to think about that. I’ll block it.”

 
Uh, okay. But it’s still real. You know that, right? And some of the things you are blocking will seriously impact your life, even if you are flat-out on purpose ignoring it all.

 
Which could quite honestly be viewed as irresponsible.

 
So here’s my wish for the day. My challenge to all of you, if you are up for it:

 
Do not be a Have It Your Way Person. To grow as people and as a nation, we need to drop the Have It Your Way Era and it’s selfish line of thinking.

 
We need to grow up and accept responsibility for learning about the world around us. And not just the people that look and think like we do. We need to be willing to listen to different people with open minds, and not just the ones that make us feel good about ourselves.

 
Find who you are and what you believe and share that. Stand behind that. But make it a two-way conversation.

 
Let the world in and stop constantly micro-managing until you only see what you want to see. We don’t learn anything that way. Not when you make sure every door is locked up tight before you walk by.

 
It’s an illusion, this “reality” we try to create in the image of what we want the world to be. It’s not real, not when you constantly shift what you allow into your life.

 
And don’t say it’s only on social networking. Because like it or not, social networking IS where we are.

 

What would the world look like to you if you stopped constantly filtering what was allowed, on and off your news feed?

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How to Change the World

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My husband and I spend a lot of time talking about changing the world. We talk about what we can change, and it often feels like we can’t do nearly enough.

There seem to be so many problems these days. I peek out of the window of my blessed, wonderful little life and I see a lot of trauma and drama and sickness and sadness and hatred out there. We pay to stream it into our homes 24 hours a day in 3D Technicolor, in the interest of being entertained and informed. We practically bathe in it.

But for being so connected and up-to-date, we are more closed-off and critical than ever. I see far too many examples of how we are downright terrible (to just plain not very nice) to one another these days. At least all the people outside our little circles and families. Those who aren’t our people.

We have forgotten that we are all the same people. We are all human beings. If we seem different, it’s merely because we’ve been raised in different ways and lived different lives. We’re still all part of the same race: the human race. We have forgotten that we still belong to one another.

Did you just roll your eyes at that? It’s because you’ve forgotten.

Maybe we do remember and we want to help,  but what can we do? When we’re too tired to shower and the kids’ lunches still aren’t made and it’s all just hard enough already? It feels like we can’t possibly do enough.

But I don’t think we change the world by huge sweeping gestures. Maybe sometimes, but I think that’s the rare exception, like a winning lottery ticket. I think most of the time the world is changed by small and honest little acts of kindness.

It would be easy to get caught up in our feelings and spread political memes like peanut butter all over the social networks and say we’re doing our part. And it is important to speak our truths. But is that doing anything? Saying is not the same as doing.

So what can you do, today, to change the world?

Hold open a door. Tell someone, with every fiber of your being, that you hope they have a nice day. See what happens when you say it like you mean it.

Catch someone’s eye for a moment and tell them you know what it’s like, whether “it” is dropping the contents of your purse on the floor at Kwik Trip or a toddler meltdown in Aisle 4. (Aisle 4 is always the cookies or candy. Aka, the meltdown aisle.)

If we spent even 5 minutes a day doing or saying something nice for others, we can make a huge difference in the world. Why? Why would that 5 minutes mean anything? Because people have a tendency to follow the good stuff. Meaning, that shit spreads. They pass it on. They pay it forward.

Go out and share some of your unique goodness today. Say something nice to a stranger. Do something nice for a neighbor or friend or someone you can think of who needs it. Do something just for the doing (as opposed to the telling or the wanting something back.) Just go put something nice out there, like a gift on the steps of the universe.

This is how we change the world. (It is also how we change ourselves, if you are interested in such things.)