Love could change the world in a momentWhat Do I Know? -Ed Sheeran
But what do I know?
Let’s take a little break from the world of ALS and my thoughts on how to live and love through this disease. It’s healthy to take a break every now and again from anything. Helps gain perspective, from what I am told. Instead, I want to talk about my thoughts on simply living.
I have always had a good life. I know, believe me I know, I have a good life, so maybe I’m preaching from a soapbox. But I have had a couple hardships. Some that I feel like the world knows – thanks social media – and others that only my closest friends know. If I have had hard times then I believe everyone else does. Famous, smart, pretty, rich, everyone has real problems they do not broadcast to the outside world.
I try to stay off social media as much as possible. I mostly use Facebook for ALS awareness and to help promote any fundraisers and non profits we support and to Facebook stalk people when I am bored. On Instagram I post pictures of our kids, so my account is private. I only follow people I know…and fitness influencers. I have no idea how to use Twitter. I use Snapchat as a group text with friends because for some reason my phone doesn’t send or accept attachments in my messaging app when I am in my house. I try to stay off social media because I feel it’s a drug that is making us all so much more mean than we really are. And we have all taken the drug, felt the effects, and to a degree liked it! Don’t say you haven’t. Even the nicest, most loving people have probably typed something snarky that they would never have said to someone’s face. Regretted it later, but now it’s on the internet and can never really go away. It’s a great tool for spreading awareness really fast (hello Ice Bucket Challenge) but the pitfalls are too great for me.
Aside from my RBF I have the tendency to say whatever comes to my mind. I don’t have a great filter. Years ago, Matt made me promise to count to 10 in my head before saying something out loud so I could decide if it was really something that needed saying. This advice has saved me so many times. I think part of it is that I am not easily offended. Or if I am offended, I tend to get over it rather quickly. I was not always this way, but as I grew up and had life experiences I realized I didn’t want to spend my time being offended by other people. I was probably sitting around thinking about some slight and the other person was out there living their best life. I want my best life too! I say all this to make clear that I am absolutely, positively, in no way above anyone when it comes to being catty or unkind.
Back in 2016 I got in a pretty upsetting conversation with one of my best friends. Yes, it was about the election. We both walked away at the end of it still best friends and a little better able to see each others perspective. At one point though we talked about perceptions of people. Profiling people based solely on their outward appearance. It’s probably one of the most harmful things we humans do to one another. How many times have we judged someone before we ever took the time to get to know ANYTHING about them? I’m counting mine in my head right now…it’s a higher number than I want to admit. And I still do it. I don’t know if it’s part of the human condition. I haven’t been fortunate enough to travel extensively so I don’t know if it’s something that is worldwide but I have to assume it is not only an American thing.
I can only think of a handful of times I have judged someone and been right about them. Maybe that is because I should leave judgment up to another being. I will not get religious on anyone reading this. I will leave it at this: I was born and raised a Christian and it is a defining quality of my being. Whether you believe Jesus is the Son of God or a prophet or just some crazy guy from a long long time ago (in a galaxy far far away?), he is a true historical figure and his teachings are well documented. And he taught some amazing ideas that were crazy back then and now seem to need to be preached again. His teachings on how to treat your fellow human are something that I think we all could get behind.
Be humble. We all have a self-importance. Hello, my husband and I started a website and a blog about ourselves. We must think we are important! Yes, we want to help others who are newly diagnosed and do not have 6 years of diagnosis under their belt, but also we think we have something to say that the world should hear. Try to listen to others when you are standing there preaching your truth. Accept that there are people in this world that will always know better than you and always be more important that you. And that is completely fine. That doesn’t take away from the awesomeness of you!
Lead with love. You never know the kind of day a stranger is having. A lot of times you don’t even know the kind of day your friend is having. Don’t just hold the door for someone, look at them and say “Hi” or ask how they are. I will work on it with you. I don’t like to talk to strangers. Strangers scare me. Actually interacting with a stranger makes my stomach do somersaults. Realize someone may be having a really bad day and your interaction with them might be the only bright spot they have. It’s hard to put others in front of yourself, especially if they are not someone you know. So start with someone in your life. Practice leading with love and I bet it will spread to other parts of your life.
Above all else, BE KIND. It is so easy to be catty and snarky. At least for me it is. When someone “wrongs” me it is so easy to pick them apart for every way they are obviously inferior to me. I’m not personally on the level to be kind to those people, working on it. But I am able to let it go. I try to not let them take up any space in my life if they are not worth it. However, imagine a place where people are genuinely kind to one another. Right now in our world it is happening. Because of this pandemic we are seeing so much good in the midst of the bad. If only it didn’t take a world crisis to highlight the awesome of humanity. People are posting videos of kindness with surprise. Wouldn’t it be great if videos of kindness were the norm instead of something shocking?
I believe each human is endowed with a heart so capable of kindness and love. Unfortunately, this world tries to steal that from us. It throws these awful things at us and tries to harden our hearts to each other. It’s up to each individual to figure out how they want to walk through this life and handle those difficulties. We can respond with cattiness, anger, self-righteousness and hurt. I challenge us all to take the bad times and accept them and let them pass. Maybe even work to a place where we can find the beautiful things inside the bad. Or even be the bright spot in the dark. We could light up the world.