Before you hit “post” on social media...
Potentially unpopular truth bomb. 💣
Sometimes, people do things that don’t seem to make sense.
The thing is—we never know the entire real story behind why anyone does anything. What seems completely irrational to you may make complete sense to someone else—even if it is 99 percent irrational to everyone else.
That’s not to say we need to condone behavior that puts others in harm’s way.
But judging people simply based on their behaviors misses a big opportunity.
Judging people based on what you read about them in the news or social media or based on whatever opinion you have of them still doesn’t tell you the whole story about them.
Most importantly—the truth about all people—EVERY. LAST. ONE. OF. US.— is that WE are not our behaviors.
Behaviors come and go. One minute I may do or say something that is kind, and the next, I may say something mean.
But that doesn’t change who I am at my core.
By judging someone else by their behaviors, no matter how egregious they may seem to you—you’re attaching their identity to their actions.
And that also means that you inherently—whether you realize it or not—attach your identity to yours.
When someone else messes up and you call them, an evil, terrible person who deserves to feel pain, it also means when you mess up, you deal yourself the same judgmental and abusive set of beliefs about yourself.
The very thing you’re fighting against—not allowing others to suffer—you’re wishing on someone else by saying terrible things about them.
No human deserves anything but love and care. No human is actually defined by their actions, beliefs, or decisions.
Yes—we may face consequences for what we say or do. Consequences speak for themselves. They are neutral. But they do not have to be punishing. They do not mean we need to take someone else and rub their face in a pile of consequences and beat a dead horse simply because we are upset.
We are all growing and learning—some at a faster pace than others. We can only evolve as fast as we can evolve given the tools, energy, emotional states, and resources we have.
If someone does something egregious—perhaps instead of shaming and abusing them—consider what it would take for them to do that thing AND STILL believe it is the right decision.
Could it mean they have a lot of pain inside? Confusion? Fear?
These are extremely likely. And if you’ve ever experienced these emotions—you likely know that living in pain and confusion and fear is often painful enough of a consequence as it is.
You also know that the last thing you needed was for someone to shame or berate you (even if you think you deserved it at the time and subsequently changed your behavior—the self-shaming or punishment from others probably didn’t actually help your underlying emotional state at all—in fact, it probably worsened it.)
Now...I invite you to shift...
Consider what would you do if you saw a child in a lot of pain, confusion, or fear?
What if that child did something completely irrational?
Sure, you might still feel angry or surprised or shocked.
But unlike an adult in the same state—you would likely give them grace, take them into your arms, comfort them, and let them know it’s ok—they were doing the best they could.
And yes, you’d still let them experience the consequences of their actions—because you know that would be the best way to learn and grow.
But if you were truly loving on that child—you wouldn’t also say hateful things and punish them.
Spoiler alert—adults—even book smart, accomplished adults...adults with advisors and teams and scientists all over their lives—are just large children.
Just because we arrive at adulthood and spend many years here doesn’t mean we always make adult decisions.
You don’t always act like an adult. And unfortunately, oftentimes—neither do elected officials and those in charge of the public interest.
Yes, even they feel emotions and do things from a place of fear — especially during a crisis.
It’s an unfortunate truth with consequences that we cannot ignore or take lightly.
But—please, I beg you. When you see things going on that seem utterly unthinkable—Do all that you can to pause, feel, and own your feelings.
Remember that NOTHING can MAKE you feel a certain way (that thought process is just the makings of victimhood and blame, and completely giving away your power).
Sit with your feelings, let them wash over you, and then let them go.
Then, picture the child. First, picture the child inside you that feels hurt, helpless, misled, abandoned, whatever...notice how that child feels and how it wants to react.
Sit with that child. Love it. Hold it in your arms and tell it that you’re here for it—it can have its feelings, and feelings are ok.
And when the child calms itself in your arms — shift your attention outward.
Picture the child in the person you once previously were hating on. Really challenge yourself to do it. Come up with a story that explains this child.
Then — invite that child to join in the love party. Send it love, grace, care, and goodwill.
We all have that inner child. The last thing anyone needs—no matter HOW “high up” they are—is hate. Hate does not conquer hate. Only love does (MLK, Jr.)
Writing hateful posts doesn’t take away your pain. It only amplifies it in you and those who read it.
What is projected outward is always turned inward first.
Chew on that.
Don’t just sit there and finger point. Take responsibility for your experience of life. Take action. Call your elected officials. Vote. Look for the helpers. Run for office. Help out however you can. Don’t give up.
But please—check your hate at the door. Every human on the planet deserves love and care—no matter what they have done. Any belief other than that is only what you wish for yourself.
So...if you find yourself tempted to finger point or call people out or be just a little too passive-aggressive and sarcastic or just downright mean any of these scenarios...
⏺The person who walked a little too close to you on the sidewalk. ⏺The person who kept their business open...or kept their business closed. ⏺The person who brought their whole family—unmasked—to the grocery store. ⏺The person who bought 13 packs of TP at the grocery store. ⏺The person who wore a mask to the grocery store. ⏺The elected official who denied science. ⏺The elected officials who cited science. ⏺The person at work who won’t stop complaining about how hard their life is. ⏺The teacher who didn’t get the distance learning curriculum uploaded in time. ⏺The parent who yelled at the teacher for falling behind. ⏺The CEO who received a loan for their not-so-small business. ⏺The CEO who didn’t receive a loan for their oh-so-small business. ⏺The house of worship that stayed open. ⏺The house of worship that did not.
Remember, you 👏🏻 do 👏🏻 not 👏🏻 know 👏🏻 their 👏🏻 whole 👏🏻 story—no matter how clear as day the story seems to appear to you.
And chances are—you’re judging because you, yourself, feel powerless or afraid—and it’s the only way you can — in that moment — attempt to feel more powerful.
It’s irrational, it doesn’t make sense—and it’s your own little kid talking and playing out on the big screen of life.
And that is ok.
If you’re going to make up a story about someone else—or repeat a story that’s already been told—make it a good one that comes from a place of grace, love, and truth. Even if that truth is “wow. They must be hurting or feel afraid—that’s the only explanation for that type of behavior.”
Then, take action—but do it only if you can hold that other person in a space of love in your heart when you do.
And if you’re really feeling stuck on this, perhaps social media is not the place to seek support. Perhaps seeking it from a trusted helping professional is what is needed—and please know — that is completely ok, too. You are so worthy of it.
If we were half as good at spreading love with our words and actions as we are at taking cheap shots and spreading fear, gossip, and hate—then a lot more healing would occur at a much faster rate.
Hugs and love to you all. We can all do this, and love each other through it.
PS. You’re doing the best YOU can when you write or say something mean, too. It’s ok.
You’re not a bad person, either. We all do it because we are learning, growing humans.
You’re so loved, and you deserve the very best, too.
In love and health,