We live in a world that takes absolute delight in tearing people down. For many, it’s a way of life.
In all forms of media, it’s about targeting someone, a group, company, or an institution. Someone did or said or wrote something that was offensive to another. They must be held up for scrutiny and publicly, metaphorically, executed.
Government and politics used to be about compromise and doing what’s best for their citizens and countries. Now, it’s all about greed, making the other side look bad, and herding people in the “proper” direction, using the latest psychological techniques to accomplish it.
Public schools are hotbeds of experimental social programs designed to churn out happy little worker robots for the 20th century. Oops, too bad it’s actually the 21st century and we need workers who can think creatively and constructively.
You know what kids do best now? Wage hate campaigns against someone “different” and threatening each other over who’s musical, tv, movie, or literary hero is best.
Hmm. Actually, maybe kids are learning about the real world. However, they certainly aren’t being prepared to be productive members of society.
Then, there’s our families. No only do we have outside pressures building against us, but internally, it’s often either a battlefield or a wasteland. We bring the “get them” attitudes with us into a place that should be a sanctuary. We hurt the people we’re closest to. We forget love and loyalty and allow frustration, anger, fear, resentment to build.
These thoughts have come to a stabby point with me lately.
What can we do to change this ugly cycle in our own lives?
Decide not to engage. We can be such competitive creatures. It’s incredibly easy to fall for the baiting, but it comes at a steep price to physical and mental health.
Don’t let the little shit get out of hand. Paradoxically, it’s often the small stuff that starts the biggest arguments. If a family member or friend tends to push your buttons, decide ahead of time how far you’re willing to go and fight like hell the impulse to argue further. You probably won’t stop the first time, but each time will get easier. Awareness makes a big difference here.
Also, think long and hard before firing off that rant on Facebook or your blog or commenting on someone else’s. That stuff has an embarrassing way of popping up long afterward.
Look for something better and you will find it. It’s easy to find the crap. Dive deeper for the pearl. Turn off the TV if you can’t find it there. Do an internet search on a topic you want to know more about. Browse the shelves in your local library. Visit a museum.
Create something. Make up a song. Write something – a poem, blog post, story, or scream onto a page that no one will see. Draw or paint a picture, knit a scarf, build a doghouse. Whatever appeals to you, go and make something. Don’t worry if it’s not a van Gogh or a Martha Stewart. That’s not the point. Instead of tearing something or someone down, you created something that didn’t exist before that moment. How friggin’ cool is that?Two of my favorite creativity gurus are Melissa Dinwiddie at Living a Creative Life and Jill Badonsky at The Muse is In.
Meet different people. Go to a different coffee shop or restaurant and say “hi” to people. Take a class in something that interests you. Join a service organization or club. If that’s too big a step, sign up for the newsletter of someone you admire. Get something interesting and positive in your inbox instead of some of the boring or depressing stuff you may have now.
James Clear writes about self-improvement in a direct way (without any woo-woo) that cuts through the bull. His free ebook on changing your habits is definitely worth a look.
Don’t beat yourself up. Stop trying to be perfect. It’s a mirage cast by someone else and you can never be that person. You are you. We’re human and we make mistakes. At some point, you are going to fail. So what? We all do. Get back up. Again and again. Apologize to those you wronged. Work at making it better.
Judy Clement Wall is a huge source of inspiration for me. Her mission is “to make art, do work, and engage in shenanigans that inspire fearless love, soulful evolution, and wild creativity as a way of life.” She’s very truthful when she messes up and works through it to the other side, often with a new perspective. Couldn’t we live with a bit more fearless love and wild creativity in the world?
How do you deal with the culture of destruction in your life?