I originally had this post ready to go for yesterday’s Think Out Loud Thursday, but after the documentary I saw the other night, I’ve had a small change of heart over the tone of this post. So, I pulled it and spent the day thinking about what I really wanted to say. This is a re-write of my original post. I also changed the exclamation point at the top to a question mark to reflect my change in opinion…..so, here we go:
I’ve been reading a lot of posts lately about external negativity. Here’s what I have to say to all of it:
This is my rant for today’s
Everyone around you at this moment is experiencing a different point in their life, but all the lives around you are happening at once. So, who are you to judge anyone at all? I’ve been thinking a lot about this question myself. It started a few weeks ago when I was in Statesville. There were two women in my workshop who each had teenage sons. In that same weekend one woman was sending her son to the prom while another was sending hers to a funeral of a friend who’d been killed in an auto accident involving drinking. Life is so fragile and yet, we treat each other so ruthlessly at times.
There are times to celebrate and times to mourn, but is there every really a time to out right hurt another person? These kids are growing up in a society that is overloaded with social media. My own kids will be far more exposed to the pressures of cyber bullying than I ever was. It scares me to think about what kids do with cell phones and all of the privileges they are allotted these days. It also scares me to think about how many more parents think that they are involved in their kids’ lives only to find out that they’re not.
There are kids whose parents want to be their best friend and kids whose parents want to give them everything so that they’ll never feel without. In my opinion, my kids will be just fine without a cell phone until they can drive and they don’t have tablets or every toy under the sun. They have more than I had when I was growing up, but I also believe that they should work for something in their life. It has made me appreciate what I have to work for it; my education, my car, my life in general. I even had to work at having kids.
When I read the Amy Poehler book a few weeks ago she made a great statement in it: Good for her; not for me. I wonder what the world would be like if we stopped mom judging? I wonder what it would be like if we stopped food policing? Or fat shaming or thin shaming or woman/man bashing? What if we didn’t care if someone was of this religion or that? What if it didn’t matter if you were straight or gay or transgender or any combination of the above? What if we could only see in one color and it was a beautiful blue? I wonder what the world would be like if we were forced to post comments with our names and addresses and contact info up there for the world to see? I wonder how you would respond to others if you had to go back to doing it face to face instead of through email or text?
I didn’t have a fairy tale childhood. I don’t expect that my children will escape the bad in anyway. But, as adults, as bloggers, as commenters, as people in our society in general….are we setting a good example? If you excuse your kid’s behavior when it is bad you are letting them know that it’s okay to treat someone poorly and that they should expect the same in return. If you judge others you should expect to be judged yourself. There are some of us that share some “privileges” as has been noted in some of the discussion I’ve read of recent. I am one of them. I am white, somewhat thin, and middle class. I have a good education, am in a heterosexual relationship and have two children who do not have any mental or physical disabilities. We are healthy and we live in a country with many rights.
But these privileges are not something that I take for granted. I have the kind of heart that wishes the best for almost everyone. I say almost because I am human and I know that I too have judged. The other day I went back to my meditations book before I went to sleep. I read a passage that spoke to me and then I dreamed about my grandfather. He was half Greek and half Native American. His family grew up around the midwest, but mostly in Chicago. His family was poor and not welcomed in any community because they were a form of mixed race according to those around them. He had major prejudices throughout his life, but he was a kind man who wouldn’t speak ill of anyone to their face without good reason. I loved him every day that I knew him and have missed him every day since. I know he would be proud of me for who I am.
The passage said something to the effect of looking inward to our negative thoughts (toward ourselves and others), our bad habits, our preconceived notions that may not always be true, and then taking them off as we would old clothes. Boxing them up and shipping them off. In my yoga class on Thursday morning I asked my participants to do the same. At the end of class we took the negative thing we’d been holding on to and lifted it off us like an old shirt. We inhaled the fresh new air as that heaviness was pulled off and we exhaled as we tossed it aside. We were relieved of that pain that was holding us back; that unfavorable outlook on life.
I want so much to live a life where I will not police others on their choices. I want so much to live a life where I feel connected to those around us. I want so much to raise my children in that sort of emotionally and environmentally healthy world so that they too can be promoters of the good life. I want to look at everything and say: Good for you; not for me. I want also to continue to preach moderation in life and walk the path of yoga. However, there are some ways in which I feel cheated in life. I feel cheated from the ability to protect my children when others around me think that the way they live and work is okay even if it harms another.
I saw this documentary the other night and it was one of many true statements that I make often in workshop about the sad state of the place in which I live. We lie to our citizens at the expense of their health and the gains of the economy. This is the only type of food policing for which I can get behind and I am totally okay with judging the food industry on it’s lies and poor judgement!