Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world your beautiful self!

Posts tagged ‘blame’

A Lifetime of Learning to Pick Your Battles

Too Many Battles, Not Enough Time

Life hands us an endless stream of lessons. Some we catch onto right away like not touching a stove when it’s hot or watching where we’re walking so we don’t walk into walls, furniture, or even less forgiving obstacles. Others, we revisit time after time, even when we thought we’d learned something and moved on.

Though I’ve come a long way from the days when I’d jump into any battle, guns a-blazing, often desperately uninformed and under armed, I like to think I’ve learned from often painful mistakes. Then I get myself into another situation where it becomes abundantly clear I still have a lot to learn. Picking my battles is one I revisit over and over and over again. Clearly, I’ve yet to get it right.

Passion Always Trumps Logic

This time, though, as I sit licking my wounds and closing a few more doors, I’ve at least learned something new. When people feel very passionately about something, they do not want to hear anything about stepping back, being reasonable, or giving the other side (or sides) a chance to weigh in. And no matter how hard you may try to address issues, not people, someone will always, and I do mean always, forget the rules of discussion, and attack the poster instead of the post.

This time, though, I finally learned, maybe not soon enough, but I learned that there is a time to walk away from a losing battle and never look back. There comes a time when you just have to close the door, lock it, and maybe even plaster it over because nothing else you say or do is going to bring back what may have started out as a reasonable discussion, but quickly degenerated to name-calling, defamation of character, and worse.

Allowing Ourselves to be Divided by Blame

It saddens me that the very people who are filled with righteous indignation over one issue or another are blind to the fact that they’re diving head first into battles against people who are far better equipped to not only win the battle, but divide and conquer with the ease of shooting fish in a barrel.

I’m tired to my very bones of trying to point out that simply choosing a group, a company, a culture, or what have you to blame for the latest injustice which fills your heart with rage is simply buying into the same tactics and methodology which have allowed the very social injustices you want changed to continue spreading like wildfire. I’ve run out of words to point out we’re allowing ourselves to be goaded into fighting with each other, leaving the perpetrators to gather more resources with which to grow their own wealth and position, and to hell with the rest of us. Or worse, that they’re using the righteous outrage over moral and ethical issues to funnel even more wealth and power to themselves. (Do I need to bring up how the Russians used “Black Lives Matter” to impact the outcome of our last election?)

Realizing the Only One We Can Truly Influence is Ourself

I have to keep reminding myself people see what they want to see. They believe what their emotions, not their brains tell them to believe. They align themselves with people who believe as they do, no matter how much they insist their minds are open to all points of view. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no better. I allow my emotions to override logic and get caught up in the maelstrom of anger, hate, blame, and impotency just like everyone else.

Where I differ though is when it’s all said and done and the dust clears, the only one I really blame is myself for attempting to engage in the first place. It’s a battle I cannot win. I don’t have the charisma of Kennedy, the greed and complete disregard for the rest of humanity of Hitler or Trump, nor the passion to change the world of Dr. King. What I really want is for us all to be able to sit down and really talk to each other, but more than that, to listen without judgment or preconceived notions. I may as well be wishing for world peace, because it’s equally likely to happen, at least in my lifetime.

Desperately Seeking Humanity and Compassion

It makes me sad that humanity would rather look for differences than commonalities, would rather fight over small things than address the larger issues. They’d rather break up into tiny, powerless splinter groups than find a way to join together and help everyone thrive.

I respect those who feel the need to march for one right or another, but when it all comes down to it, we’ve allowed ourselves to be split into so many pieces, that no one thing, no one unifying idea gets enough long-term support to matter.

In the last year, or two, how many marches have their been? How many causes have been born, gotten a lot of attention for a while, then died when the next big, emotional outcry began?

Attention Span of a March

What happened to Occupy Wall Street? Many took to the streets to protest, yet did anything really get accomplished before all of the participants scattered, to be sucked into the next battle cry? Right now, it’s marches for science, #metoo, Black Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter, and heaven only knows what else. When people get tired of seeing no progress, what will they march for instead?

Even if the general public had an attention span longer than that of a gnat, we’re being bombarded with so many things every day that are bound to make one group or another angry, how can anyone stay focused on a single issue long enough to actually make a dent in what’s wrong with our society? Our world?

Looking for Common Ground and Unity

Because, if you ask me, the biggest problem isn’t guns, or women’s rights, or ignorance of science, or white privilege, or any of the other causes people are screaming about on a given day. The problem is, we’re so busy looking for differences and things we don’t like, that we’ve completely lost sight of all the amazing things and people we have around us. We’ve totally disconnected from the goodness in order to point fingers, assign blame, and demand change without any implementation plans. Is it any wonder people like me are more often than not shutting our mouths and walking away?

In a nutshell, we’re tired of being shouted down, verbally abused, called cowards, and worse. So I’m done. The only person I can change is myself. The only place I can truly make a difference is in who I touch and how I touch them. All I can really do is try to leave the lightest, most gentle imprint I can on the lives I touch. I can’t change minds. I can’t make people open up to a broader perspective. I can’t make anyone try to see things from any point of view besides their own. And every one of us has a very myopic point of view based entirely on our own experiences and perceptions. I can only change that in myself. This video of Jordan Peterson conveys this concept better than I’m able.

Spending More Time Watching, Less Time Speaking

All my life, I’ve lived in the background. I was technical theater rather than a performer. I worked back office instead of being out there drumming up sales. And now, I sit behind my computer, writing for the few who find their way to my blog and website, and keeping records for small businesses. Would I like to make a difference? Of course. But I don’t need to be out in the forefront leading the charge, nor do I have a grand plan I feel would even be effective. As I said before, I have no aspirations to be a great leader, nor will I follow like a mindless sheep.

For the moment, I think my job is to watch and listen and leave the arguments and engagements to those who are more suited to it. Living on a remote mountaintop with no access to phones or media is starting to look better every day because there are times I find it difficult, if not impossible to engage, and yes, at times, be enraged.

Remembering How Much I Appreciate What I Have

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful I’m still interested in digging down to the heart of matters instead of simply accepting all of the opinions and fake news with which I’m being bombarded.
  2. I am grateful I’ve learned other peoples’ opinions of me, my character, my words, and my actions may sting for a minute, but do not impact who I am or what I do nearly as much as I once believed.
  3. I am grateful I continue to be true to myself, even when doing so makes me less acceptable in the eyes of some, or even many.
  4. I am grateful I live in a country where, at least for the moment, we’re still relatively free to express differing opinions. May it continue to remain so and not go down the road signs are indicating.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, discussion, information, research, health, peace, harmony, joy, forgiveness, acceptance, prosperity, and philanthropy.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for ghostwriting to help your business grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write your expert book with you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

We Are All Connected So Why Must We Hate?

An Appeal for Harmony

Last month, Linda Clay asked the question: “What one thing would you like to tell the world?” I replied “I’d tell them to be kind”. An old Coca Cola commercial from the 70’s is a beautiful example of what, in today’s environment seems virtually impossible.

The truth is, we are all connected so when we’re unkind to someone, we are, in reality failing to treat ourselves with love and compassion. If you think of all humanity, animals, and even the rocks and trees, each of us is a thread in the warp and woof which creates a beautiful living tapestry. Unkind acts damage the collective fabric which joins us, weakening and making it less resilient.

Self-Love Can Begin the Healing Process

The world is full of unkindness these days. Whether it’s overt hate or simply disrespect, it’s all boils down to one thing: a lack of love in people’s lives. Whether that lack manifests itself as money, possessions, a coveted job, or a relationship, expression of what’s lacking comes out the same. What’s even worse is that a lack of self-love is at the root of the problem.

When life doesn’t give people what they want, they choose to respond by lashing out, spewing hate, and blaming other people or groups instead of looking within to see what they actually lack. They fail to see the solution to their lack lies in learning to love themselves and the gaping hole in their lives is exposed. Their emotions become like an open wound, aggravated by anything or anyone that fails to salve their wound. The salve they themselves have always possessed gets buried deeper and deeper.

We Need a Moratorium on Blame

When we use blaming words like “You made me feel…” or “you did this to me” we put others on the defensive. They react to our words and how those words make them feel rather than listening or trying to understand. They’ll dig into their own emotional luggage compartment and counter what they feel is an attack with one of their own. At least some of this emotional backlash could be avoided if we simply re-worded things so as not to assign responsibility for our feelings to someone else. You could start with “when you said this I felt that” and open the dialogue to why you felt what you did. Give your friend a chance to help you resolve an old emotional issue and you’ll both walk away feeling loved instead of attacked.

We can only control our own reactions. So it’s up to us to step back and observe our emotional responses objectively before deciding how to respond. Though I doubt any of us other than maybe the Dalai Lama will ever master our emotions, it is possible to temper the way we react once one of the myriad we possess is inadvertently triggered. First, we need to turn down the heat beneath those emotions. When they’re already at the boiling point, even a minuscule trigger can set them off and containment is nearly impossible.

Distortion of Truth is the Root of Hate

What is and isn’t true nowadays often depends on who you talk to. This distortion of truth plays directly into those already overheated emotions. Too many things are now becoming “true” simply because they’ve been repeated so many times. Too many people believe because it comes from someone they trust, or disbelieve because the speaker is someone they distrust. Our responses are being triggered, not by what is true, but by what we believe is true. All too often, emotions are boiling over based on “truths” which have no substantiation whatsoever.

As friendships are severed and atrocities inflicted on the basis of subjective truth, volatility within humanity runs rampant. The effects of such volatility are as destructive as the wild fires which have been burning for weeks in Montana and elsewhere.

Think First, Then Act. Not the Other Way Around.

We need to question things, do our own due diligence. Until we, first as individuals, begin to look closely at what we’ve been told is true, we won’t be able to detach ourselves from the backlash over disparate truths. Until we refuse to become part of the manipulations which pit human being against human being, we won’t be able to help thwart this massive rendition of Sherman’s march to the sea.

Sitting, watching and waiting won’t in the end, solve the problems we’re having. But sitting, watching, and waiting until we understand better what’s true and what isn’t before speaking our piece or jumping into the fray with voices raised and epithets flying will help avoid an endless conflagration of reactions.

Understanding Doesn’t Mean We Must Agree

We don’t have to agree with everyone but it can help to try to put ourselves in their shoes. Get a feel for where they’re coming from; why they believe what they do, and why those beliefs are causing them to react with such venom. Dig deeply into what makes them so afraid they have to lash out with hateful words and acts in order to protect what they fear losing.

The voice of reason needs to come forth. It can take something as small as waiting a moment before reacting to give yourself a chance to see what’s real and what’s fabricated. If you react to hate with more hate, you might as well just pour gasoline on a fire, then stand back and watch your whole world burn to a cinder.

Don’t lose sight of the fact we’re all connected; all woven into the same fabric of being. We owe it to our collective selves to learn to listen without reacting.

Be the Mediator Instead of Another Extremist

Most of all, understand what motivates people to go to extremes. Many are flying on pure emotion. Those in power know it and are using it to keep everyone off-balance and reacting instead of thinking. Many are committing acts that are abhorrent to a rational human being. It is up to us to avoid reacting with emotion. Instead, we must step back and try to understand what drove them to go to such an extreme. We all hit that point at times, shut off our rational side and fly on pure emotion. But we are all also rational human beings capable of thinking things through and finding better ways to express our displeasure and lack. One person at a time, we can turn the tide of irrationality and hate.

Find Reasons to be Grateful

Every life has blessings. Sometimes we have to dig deep to find them, but they are there. Even finding 5 a day raises our emotional barometer significantly. So here are my 5 for the day.

  1. I am grateful for the gift I’ve been given and the courage to voice what may not be popular.
  2. I am grateful for the encouragement I receive from both likely and unlikely sources.
  3. I am grateful for love. It will truly be humanity’s salvation.
  4. I am grateful for understanding. We all have it, but sometimes need to receive a little before we find our own.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, understanding, compassion, kindness, giving, receiving, acceptance, joy, inspiration, motivation, sharing, caring, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Watch the Facebook Live that inspired this post here.

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

 

October 16, 2014 Perspective: Don’t be afraid to shine your light. #shericonaway #blogboost

In just a few hours, perspective can change.

This afternoon, I began to write a post about my dysfunctional family which has not enjoyed the loving, close relationships so many post about on Facebook. But now, a few hours later, after an unusually short night of dancing, I realize that I don’t want to write about that at all. The truth is, we all have some sort of skeleton in our family closet. So what? Because it isn’t where you come from, what advantages you had or didn’t, whether or not someone cherished you as you deserve to be cherished. No! It’s about what you do with what you have that’s important.

Too many people out there, from every, single generation alive, blame their parents for what they did not become, or for what they do not have. These people would have more luck selling me the Brooklyn Bridge or beachfront property in Arizona. Statistically speaking, our parents only influence our behavior and personality until the age of about ten, after which we are more strongly influenced by our peers, our teachers and a host of other people we interface with every day.

Put forth the effort or go home. This is a no whining zone!

If we want to achieve anything in life, we have to put forth the effort ourselves (I’m also speaking to myself here, as I have not achieved what I’d hoped to so far this year, but it is from my own lack of sufficient effort, and no other reason). People are rarely born into a life where someone takes their hand and leads them down the path of a successful life, however one might define it. If they did, we’d never be able to sustain it because we wouldn’t have learned how to achieve it in the first place!

The School of Hard Knocks is where we learn lessons that stay with us because of the hard knocks we received. There’s nothing like a painful lesson to keep it in our minds for awhile. Remember what you were doing the first time you burned yourself or cut yourself with a sharp knife. How willing were you to repeat that lesson?

It’s the same with lessons which are painful on a less tangible level. If they hurt, we naturally resist repeating something which was painful. Yes, I realize there are some folks for whom pain isn’t a reliable deterrent, but I’m addressing the majority of folks right now. How many people who are badly hurt emotionally in a relationship will resist getting involved until they learn that it’s not the relationship but the type of person they chose?

So I am not going to write a post about how I wasn’t close to my mom or my sister because it falls into that broad category called “So What?”. They didn’t choose the path I followed. I did. The successes, the lessons, the failures (which are really just lessons in disguise)…they’re all mine. Having nobody to blame also means that there’s nobody to steal your glory!

Live it! Own it! Be it!

Every one of us is an amazing person. Some of us just hide it better than others. We must never be afraid to allow our light to shine. You never know when it might brighten a dark road for someone who really needs it!

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for attitude adjustments which brighten my perspective.
2. I am grateful for friends who chase away my dark shadows with their sunny dispositions.
3. I am grateful for knowing when to walk away and think something through more carefully.
4. I am grateful for the excessive amounts of positive energy flowing through me.
5. I am grateful for days when I think I’ve accomplished nothing, until I look back and see that I was moving so fast, the whole thing just blurred.
6. I am grateful for abundance: Love, health, positivity, energy, friendship, motivation, inspiration, vitality and prosperity.

Namaste

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