Next Time You Want to Post That. . .

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Raise your hand if you have seen an opinion shared in your news-feed in the last two hours.

All the hands raise.

How many of you had your lives changed by seeing that opinion?

No hands raise.

What makes you think your opinion is truly going to change the world from your social media platform?

This is when we all start yelling about social injustice, bigotry and how 50% of the country is alright with seeing children get slaughtered in schools.  It’s when you say that by taking away guns from good people that bad people will still have the guns and that will do nothing but leave good folks with no means for self defense.  Or it’s when you say that you’re the person aiming the barrel of a gun at a child for not wanting to revisit the 2nd amendment. It’s where we get passionate in fighting with strangers from behind our screens and get consumed with the fragile notion that somehow we’re truly making a difference with opinions.  It’s when we think the president can actually see how much we support or hate him by the unproductive argument we’re having with this acquaintance or stranger.

It’s when we demonize people that we don’t even know.  This argument is where you forget that the person on the other side of the screen is likely a person who has the same humanity, desire for happiness, children they adore and a hope for peace as you do.

I know that there isn’t a single good person out there (yes, we obviously got a few bad ones) who’s heart doesn’t bleed for the innocence murdered in the recent days within our country.  There isn’t a single parent who thinks “my opinion matters more than my baby’s life”.  Yet, we see anyone on the other side of our perspective as the evil doer incarnate because of who they voted or didn’t vote for.  We see the opposing arguer as a person who wants this evil to happen because they don’t see the sames means to a reckoning the way we do.  We see ourselves as perfect.

What if we paused for a second.  Before we think we are accomplishing justice by doing all we can to make another feel small that possibly we remember that there is a face to that opinion; maybe a face we wouldn’t say such visceral and demeaning words to if we were sitting across a table from them.

What if we remember that the world truly doesn’t care about what you think, especially on social media where you’re among the fray.  The fray of fear, anger and opinion.  Your voice doesn’t change anyone’s hearts when the intent is to prove them wrong.  It just doesn’t.  When can you recall a time when your heart was changed by someone saying “You’re wrong! You’re wrong! You’re wrong!”?

Let’s not be deceived that your opinion has power.  What does have power is remembering that you don’t control others.  You don’t influence them from this side of the screen.  You have the power to understand them and to grow in your perspective.  If that power isn’t good enough do something about it.  Run for legislature.  Visit with your politicians (because standing on a sidewalk with a sign is about as effective as posting from your page).  Pause before running your mouth at your opponent and ask questions instead.  Raise your kids within your beliefs and be blessed by their life.  If you’re afraid of this world stop reading this and Google ways to be empowered above that fear.  Stop wasting your value on spouting your truly worthless opinion.

I will end with the irony that this is my opinion on worthless opinions.  Remember where real value and power exists.  It exists within your interactions with others you share your days with.  It exists within your character and how you value people.  In your soul there’s actions steps to making a difference and it stops with just scrolling for a fight.  It ends when you discontinue to weaponize your words.

Please pause next time and remember that your opinion is just that.  Your small opinion.

With lots of love,

Sara

Election Thoughts: The Rumble, Jolt and Surprise

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We’re all shocked after the elections.  Some are truly happy, some are devastated and there are others that were lacking enthusiasm for however the results panned out either way.  But I think we all can agree that we are surprised by what’s happened.  What has been interesting isn’t the jolt that we’re going to have a presidency that will be dramatically different from what we’ve had maybe ever.  What’s surprising is the manner in which so many of us have handled the rumble.

I see statements that now America is putting behind a corrupt political system.  That if you voted democrat you are for corruption, murder and lies in the White House.  If you’re a democrat you’re okay with letting ISIS into our country via the southern border. Or if you voted republican that you are a misogynist, a racist, anti woman, homophobic and it’s likely you didn’t get a bachelors degree and you’re white. If you voted third party you’re sheeple, a self righteous purist, an idiot for throwing your vote away and it actually was a vote for the bad guy.

Congratulations, we all have been called things that are untrue.

I have some sincere questions and thoughts to share with you my dear reader for whom I have empathy and a deep respect for.  I get how exciting, joyful, apathetic and maddening it all is right now and I want nothing more than for you to feel heard. I know that your view matters greatly.  But I want you to consider how much your opinion matters.

Where do we consider drawing a line in the sand to rein in our opinions?  How much value is in the weight of your words and is it worth polarizing yourself from the other half of the country?

By your passion to let your voice be heard you’re enjoying the right we have to a voice as Americans and it’s at the cost of your respect for a significant portion of the people you share life with.  Here’s the hinge that this ramble is about.  Does your opinion cut you off from others?  If it does, is it seriously worth it?  If your opinion requires insults, belittlement and costing relationship with half of the country I’m sorry, but you are closed minded.  I find it genuinely confusing to see so many say that others need to have an open mind and yet after the election I see the very same people say that they will have nothing to do with anyone who voted for opponent of their favored candidate.

And finally, have you even considered how hard it is to hate someone and what their views are if you were looking them in the eye while trying to prove them wrong?

Don’t let this be the beginning of division.  Let this be an opportunity to stop commenting on every post that provides an opposing argument and instead suggest meeting that person across the table for coffee so you can find a window of understanding into how they formed that view.  Challenge yourself.  See if you can call someone a racist to their face after you take the time to really see them.  I’m thinking it would be tough to call someone an ISIS promoter if you found out why they feel the way they do.

Take the chance to see people.  Use this season as the means to become more loving, more empathetic and to not forget that the other half of the country that voted differently than you are authentic and good people for the most part.  They’re parents who want to see it better for their kids and grand kids.  They’re owners of that business you love in your community.  They’re your coworkers, employers and customers.  They’re your family.  Your children.  Each person despite of who they voted for is a chance to love and honor them for being as human as you are.

Handle the the surprise with grace.  Recognize the jolt and be humble.  See the goodness of so many people who are different than you.  Realize we’re all gonna grow from this.  See that as individuals we face the choice to make America be great not because it ever lost greatness but because we are what makes it such if we’re in it together.

 

With so much love,

Sara