I’ve heard that it’s ok to go on a rant once in a while. In fact, when researching about how to grow a blog, a suggestion that’s often given is to discuss controversial subjects. I usually try to suppress the ranting and controversial side of me on the blog…she likes to come out with her war paint on and beat her drum. I stifle her more often than not. She’s a loud bohemian type with opinions that are too big and ideas that are too invigorating…you know…a creative liberal-GASP.
“Why are you letting her out now?”, I can hear you say.
Well, she’s got things to say-simple as that.
She wants to encourage you…and she wants to be encouraged.
I became inspired to write a post about encouraging others as I was reading some photography articles by a contributor on the Pionnerwoman.com. This contributor, no matter what the subject, ended each of her posts with a simple, yet profound statement, “encourage one another“. This phrase, it struck a chord with me.
I read that blog primarily because it’s full of women contributors that do just that…they encourage one another. They share their knowledge in hopes of making others better. They don’t withhold what they know in order to watch others struggle, but instead, say things like, “Keep taking pictures, your photography will get better with practice”. These words gave me the courage to venture into the world of photography…a world I thought was too big and to artsy for me to ever fit in. Lo and behold, I learned and learned quickly.
See, I was encouraged and so I was brave.
That bravery turned it art, enjoyment, and exploration for me. All healthy things that make up a full life.
I’ve never been fond of speeches that interject a bunch of quotes mixed in with the speakers original thoughts. I usually think “graduation speech” when I hear that. But since we’re breaking rules tonight, here’s one for ya:
“How bold one gets when one is sure of being loved”-Sigmund Freud.
It’s knowledge as old as time…clear back to the days when psychology was born…if you are loved you are free to blossom into your full potential. You are free to be bold. I think bold is beautiful and real.
So, what’s the controversial part of this post? Well, I don’t think today’s world is very encouraging. I get the idea that the majority of people believe that to encourage someone else is to take away from themselves…and I think it’s sickening and sad. If I’m being honest, it makes me furious.
I want my kids to grow up in a world where people help one another, where we embrace differences, where we offer a hand even when we don’t feel like we have one to spare…but at times feel lost in this effort.
I have often been criticized for my “liberal” views. Basically my belief that all human beings are equal and deserve the same rights. I fully support gay rights, I support religious freedom, I value diversity, I think women are the Earth’s most powerful and influential beings that can shake the living hell out of this planet. This has always been the only way to think in my mind…I never questioned it, not ever. The more I’ve been judged in my life, the more I realize this is the only way.
Acceptance is the only way.
“You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge. Apologize for mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone-profusely. But DON’T apologize for being who you are,” Daniell Laporte.
My friend sent me that quote the other day. If you have a friend that knows your heart, hold that very dear.
I have endured a lot of what I feel is unnecessary criticism this year. It feels like the more success I have with my life the more I am judged and discouraged. It has left me empty and I feel like pouring my courage and by boldness that is so much a part of me down the bathroom sink.
“A lot of parents will do anything for their children except let them be themselves”- Banksy.
I firmly believe that if you are going to have children, you have them to help them flourish into themselves, not your view of who you think they should be. It’s my goal each day to do that for my kids. It is also my goal to love them enough that they feel secure enough in turn, to give that to others-freely.
Dare I say, I think people should have encouraging words for their competitors, their enemies, the people that haven’t shown them any at all. It’s a damn hard thing to do, but we all need to practice at it.
It’s perfectly ok to be angry with someone and it is ok to decline subscription to their beleifs, but it is not ever excusable to be cruel. Cruelty in my opinion comes from a very arrogant and judgmental stance. It is presumptuous and rude. Quite frankly, there is no purpose in it. Cruelty can be direct and tangible, such as physical violence. However, it can also be subtle and insidious, taking the form of invalidation, judgement, and shame. It can simply be failing to encourage the heart of someone who needs it from you most.
Somehow in this world today, our society seems to have developed a view that it is acceptable to say whatever comes to mind. Oh, I believe in being outspoken, but it takes compassion to speak out without taking the wind out of someone else’s sails.
“You can be the juiciest, ripest peach in the world, but there’s always someone who hates peaches”. Found that fun quote on Pinterest. True dat, is what I say.
The fact is, you can be the most wonderful person in the world and there will always be someone who takes it upon themselves to criticize who you are. They manage to tell you about all your inherent faults without a thought as to how that will sit with you and affect your life. They forget we are all equal, all human, all flesh and bone, just trying to make our own way.
Social media is another place which solidifies my view that the world is losing it’s ability to encourage and uplift. It amazes me the lack of common courtesy, the passive aggressive behavior, and the lack of social decency displayed there everyday. I could go on and on about that for days…we’ll save that for the next rant.
Let me just make a plea to you out there, that if you find yourself in a position in which you cannot encourage the person who needs that from you, that you ask yourself why.
Should you really call yourself this person’s loved one, family member, BFF, fellow clergyman, Facebook friend, etc., if it is impossible for you to see the good in them and find something positive to say? You should question your motives for being in that relationship and you should do them a favor and either change your ways or let them find someone who can give them the decency of basic human treatment and interaction.
You don’t have to love what your friend or loved one is doing, but if they aren’t harming anything, why should you harm them with words that you can never take back and that they can never un-hear?
“Don’t listen to people who tell you what to do. Listen to people who encourage you to do what you know in your heart is right”.
The bottom line is that we all have the right to believe how we believe, to live in a way that makes us happy and fulfilled. If you have put yourself in a place in which you are taking away another person’s freedom to do that, I’m afraid you have an inflated view of yourself. If you find that you need to counsel someone, do it from a place of love and criticize the behavior and not the person. If you find you are unable to contribute to the things that person holds dear, let them go.
It seems simple enough.
And if you find yourself in a place in which your inner bohemian goddess is sitting in a dark corner with her head to the ground, I want you to stand up.
I want you to dip your finger into your can of war paint, drag it under your eyes, and lift up your chin.
Because sometimes we are the only one that can give our heart what she so desperately needs. We know our inside stitches and the way they hold us together more than anyone else. We know what makes our bold heart beat and flutter and so we just have to be our own encourager. We have to convince ourselves that we are too beautiful, too different, and too damn lovely to stay hidden in the darkness any longer.
Try it for today…don’t give up today.
Just Encourage One Another and watch how it changes them…and you.