Yesterday was a rough day. Along with so many others, I am unsettled, confused, and saddened. But, unlike the masses, my disappointment has nothing to do with the election.
Just when I thought I’d seen everything that supposed adult behavior has to offer, people have surprised me. The human interactions I’ve encountered of late are angry, disrespectful, and aggressive. From parents and players at the soccer fields to the impatient customers at the grocery store and all of the road rage in between, I am perpetually questioning the presence of a full moon, because how else can this volatile nature of living, breathing, people with bodies of warmth and hearts and souls and feelings be so deteriorated? Add social media to the mix and the unfiltered unabashed opinions flow readily behind the protection of a screen. I’m completely floored at how careless and destructive people have been in both word and deed, and just how easily those hurtful words roll off of tongues and fingertips.
A dear friend of mine teaches first grade and has become somewhat of a lunar scientist as she anticipates less than scientific behavior from her students. When the moon phase is just right (or wrong, as she would see it), her little darlings go from orderly, schedule-following, line-walking little learners to scaling-the-walls, out-of-their-seats, food-flicking and nose-picking little wildlings. Hers is an accurate science – she’s always right – and I’ve learned to give her a wide berth on those days.
But is it really the moon, people, or has everyone lost their sense of mutual respect? Are the barriers so broken down, are we so desensitized by the regular flow of vitriol, that the only approach is to try to hurt people at deeper levels than the last time we hurt them?
Forgive me, but I’m having a very difficult time understanding. You see, I’m raising my babies in this sad state of personal deterioration, and on days like today, it scares me what their world will be like if we don’t seriously and immediately CHECK OURSELVES.
I’m equally frustrated because all that seems to come to mind right now are all of the cliché things people say during times of conflict:
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
“Treat others as you want to be treated.”
“One of the truest signs of maturity is the ability to disagree with someone while still remaining respectful.”
“If you’re not working on yourself, you’re working against yourself.”
“It starts at home.”
Nope. All I can muster on days like today is, for the love of all that is good in the world and kind in your hearts and peaceful on our planet, people, SLOW. YOUR. ROLL.
Can we all just settle down for a bit? Breathe, relax, and count our blessings? What the heck is happening to our society? Better yet, why are we allowing it to happen rather than becoming part of the solution? Anyone have any ideas on a solution instead of insults and complaints about what SOMEONE ELSE is doing? What are YOU doing?
The bottom line is that all of those clichés are absolutely one hundred percent accurate and appropriate. As basic as it all sounds, It DOES start with you. It starts in your home, with your family, in your little section of the universe and spreads outward.
Read that again, focusing on the part where it spreads outward. Whether you choose love or hate, kindness or cruelty, acceptance or disdain – it all spreads OUTWARD.
It starts with your words, your behaviors, your REACTIONS, and spreads outward. It starts behind your computer screen, your thumbs on your phone as you blast out nasty Facebook taunts, your composure or lack thereof as a spectator at your child’s soccer game, your petulant impatience with the teenage cashier, the foreign customer service clerk, and YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND NEIGHBORS AS THEY SHARE VIEWS DIFFERENT FROM YOU.
What are YOU spreading outward?
Are you bettering yourself? Your small slice of this wonderful life you’ve been given? Are you pausing before you respond? Do you HAVE to respond?
How about this one? “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
What kind of change do you want to see?
What are you going to do to get there?
Is your little section of the world emanating solutions or fueling problems? Are you teaching your children the value of acceptance, kindness, and gratitude? Are you teaching them that they are owed nothing and to be the best versions of them that they can be? Are you modeling how to be the best version of YOU that you can be?
Every single day is an opportunity for self-improvement and to assess what you’re putting out into the world. Yes, you still have blessings for which you should be grateful. Slow your roll, before it gets out of hand. If it already has, take some deep breaths and figure out what small steps you can take today, this week, this month, to spread some positivity in your small corner of the world, to mend hurt and hearts. Focus on what YOU can do to be better in your little space, in your family, in your relationships, and let that influence spread outward. Your section of the world may seem small, like one faint voice, but those small voices add up, and it takes a collective voice of personal and mutual respect to bring about societal change.