What happens when you miscalculate a move? What happens when you make that miscalculation publicly? What happens when you miscalculate on a platform that is open to critical response? What happens when said response puts you on the defensive, and triggers the urge to explain yourself… or worse, attack the respondents?
How much courage will it take for you to be still… to sit in the feeling?
One thing is absolute: nothing lasts forever. Nothing good. Nothing bad. But it’s hard to come to that realization when you are drowning in drama, particularly if that drama is of your own making. Logically, we know that thanks to all of the social stimulus in the world, everyone has a short attention span and will likely move on long before that nasty feeling in the pit of our stomach subsides. Emotionally, it’s hard to reconcile reality, and so the most typical result is reaction.
Recently, I witnessed an epic Facebook rant by a person who has spent a considerable amount of time cultivating the perfect spiritual representation on social media. The rant was full of profanity and deep-seated feelings on race, and pointed the finger firmly at those with whom the author disapproved. It was surprising, because most posts were normally about universal love and inclusion. And this post was such a departure, full of divisive language and so rife with judgement that it called forth the obvious question: Have we been talking to your representative all this time? Are we just getting to meet the real you?
So there were responses, and defensive measures, and counter-measures, and screw you it’s my timeline if you don’t like what I have to say f*ck off… and then eventually all the noise died down and everyone went home. And then it showed up again on Instagram, this time with lofty language designed to mimic courage and empowerment. The author, still so full of feeling, decided to keep the drama alive. It occurred to me how difficult it actually is to be emotionally uncomfortable, especially when you’ve showed your hand in a space that garnered critical reaction. Vulnerability is part of the human condition, but because we collectively associate it with weakness, many of us choose to go on the offense in the name of self protection.
If you really don’t care what others think, you will never need to say it out loud. Ever.
Social media is such a force. It gives us the opportunity to find and connect with each other, and share the things that we’ve chosen to give importance. But it’s an open platform, and everyone is 100% entitled to their opinions, even if that opinion runs counter to yours. The instant gratification of social media might also deny us the opportunity to really sit in the feeling. We are often so busy responding and reacting to one another, that we rarely consider the value of temporary discomfort, and the lessons that can be gleaned from that space.
I am a major advocate of standing in your truth. Know this: if it’s your truth, there is no need for over-explanation, reaction, attacks, anger or carrying what is in reality your own issue with your own discomfort across different respondents or open platforms. When we seek to curry agreement or favor with our ‘truth’ – it is not that. It’s just us being in our feelings, and sometimes those feelings are best served with a sounding board that shines an honest light on it. We are not always right. We are not always wrong. But we’d be hard pressed to understand the balance between the two unless we afford ourselves the luxury of sitting in the feeling… and having the courage to let it pass.