the less you rage, the more i’ll listen.

GEG-featured-image“Truly powerful people have great humility. They do not try to impress, they do not try to be influential. They simply are. They are most often very silent and focused, aware of their core selves….They never persuade, nor do they use manipulation or aggressiveness to get their way. They listen.” – author Sanaya Roman

There’s a whole lotta, whole lotta words out there on the internets. Some of those words make me feel hopeful. Inspired to love. Reminded that I can change the world from my own front porch. The people who write the narratives that inspire me are open and real about their struggles, but living life and practicing love in spite of them. Their words have challenged me to be aware of my surroundings, to practice gratitude, to listen closely, and to do good. Like the above quote mentions, they don’t try to impress with their proficiency in either words or the latest social issue. These writers are the ones who turn my ear and heart.

Then there are the commentaries from which I walk away feeling dejected, worrisome, guilty. The raging rants, the vilifying “open letters”, the impulsive posts on social media, or the semi-condescending “I have a lot of important information to share with you” pieces written by people who always seem to be on some sort of mission. They’re bullhorning about a cause and by golly, you’re gonna hear about it. The topics vary, but whatever the topic is amounts to a massive societal battle of which the writer tries persuade me to be a combatant. I appreciate that sort of fiery passion. I really do. I just grow tired of the impassioned voices who do so…much… TALKING. They often come across as 1) plain ol’ angry and 2) having all the answers (and they don’t. no one does.). I realize that saving the planet, calling out the hypocritical beauty industry, boycotting greedy corporations, and holding our politicians accountable are all worthwhile movements. And I appreciate the conviction held by the people behind these movements. AND…I realize there’s a need to be pushy sometimes, especially when human lives are in immediate danger.

But anger and bitterness do not inspire me. Not even when funneled into eloquent, well-crafted essays. I have enough anger of my own, thanks. I recognize the outrage for what it is. I identify with it. I understand why it’s there. But reading prolific amounts of words about others’ indignation doesn’t compel me to change. All it does is make me feel tired. And ashamed that I’m not doing more. Maybe I need to be doing more. But angry, guilt-inducing, shame-on-you words (as masked as they may be) as a prompt to action just won’t work.

I admit the line is blurry. I’m even questioning this post. Am I doing the very same thing? Is this just another ticked-off letter to all the ticked-off open-letter writers? But I don’t feel ticked off. Just real exhausted with all the missives on social media, blogs, and news outlets. Weary of the underlying know-it-all tones. It’s tiresome. I wish it was as easy as just hiding someone from your news feed, but we all know it isn’t.

Oh heck, why not…here’s my “open letter” to all the writers out there with a bee in their bonnet:

Dear writers who are attempting to inspire with heated words about passionate causes,

What inspires me is hearing about how the world inspires YOU…or how it breaks your heart. What inspires me is your STORY. YOUR story. Your struggle. Your view of the world. Because it’s different from mine. Hearing where you’ve been, where you’ve traveled – on foot and in your spirit – inspires me to compassion for the rest of humankind. I want to read about the experiences that have stirred your outrage, your grief…and if you’ve spotted a ray of love breaking through those dark, angry clouds. Have you found a needle of hope in a haystack of grief? I want to hear about THAT. THAT inspires me.

Instead of fuming about this and that issue, tell me about YOU: how you’ve arrived at this point in your life, why this issue is so dear to you, what you’ve done to try and change things. Did you fail or succeed? Did it discourage or empower you? And if I decide I want to help, how can I do so in a practical manner?

I appreciate that you feel so strongly. But there’s no need to come on so strong.

Your fellow human being who regularly acquires bees-in-her-bonnet but tries not to write about it,

Jana

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