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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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