I am proud of myself so far. I have almost removed "but" from my conversations and writing. I listen to myself more carefully now. I try to be present in every conversation. I am practicing things I value.
My biggest hurdle seems to be a very strong desire to be right. It comes out when I interject myself into someone else's story. It becomes obvious when I tell Donald a story full of judging others. It is impossible to ignore when I say or think that my purpose in life is to help other people improve.
How arrogant is that?
Donald made an important point to me yesterday. As I'm sure you have noticed, I reference a particular book and a particular author all the time. I gave copies to members of my family for Christmas. It shows up in many of my conversations. He asked me to consider for a moment how it would sound if I replaced the name of that book with The Bible and the name of that author with God. I screeched to a halt.
I never intended to evangelize. I hope that my posts have simply been a sounding board for my journey of self-discovery and that they have not come across as a mantra for living that everyone should follow. Preaching at people is never something I thought I would do, so if I have come across that way previously, it stops now.
No one likes to be told that what they are doing is wrong. No one likes to be made to feel inferior or less than equal. If I have made any of you feel that way, I apologize.
Donald encouraged me to focus on living my values rather than talking about my values. My personal success does not rely on changing someone else. It only depends on me. This does not mean that my "way" needs to be a secret. My way will only work for me, just as someone else's way will only work for them. Sharing my way would imply that someone else's is wrong. It's also incredibly self-centered. I do it this way. Me. Me. Me.
Despite the ugliness of arrogance, I struggle with the idea of not sharing. My journey has depended very much on learning from others, considering their way and deciding whether it would help me. I would never have found their stories or experiences if they had not shared them with the world. The point, perhaps, is that I sought out their knowledge and their experiences, they were not forced on me. No one made me consider their ideas, I chose to consider them. That choice makes all the difference.
Does this mean that we should only share our opinions when asked? Or that everyone who expresses a personal preference on Facebook or Twitter is trying to change me? Am I writing this blog as a form of self-aggrandizement?
I would agree that there are many people who use various forms of social media as a soap box to proclaim their beliefs in order to get other people to agree with them or to change their ways. I would also argue that our willingness to speak our minds in a public way creates a dynamic and potentially innovative dialogue about what we think in a very diverse and collective way. Those who resonate most with their readers are probably the ones who present their opinions or experiences in a way that makes the readers feel good and inspires them. It's really about the way in which the sharing is conveyed.
I would like to believe that many people share personal things in a public way because they want feedback, they want community, they want to consider many perspectives in order to enhance their individual journey. Maybe they want a little validation, to know that they are not alone in the universe, that even though everyone has their own way of living their lives, there are still shared experiences and voices of support out there.
Why do you write/share? What qualities attract you to someone else's writing? What qualities turn you off?