Let’s Practice What We Preach

This is a note to myself. Maybe if I write it out, then read it, then listen to myself reading it in the podcast, I can have a reasonable weekend.

So, Suna, ponder this:

Stressing over something you can’t do anything about helps nothing.

Me

Hypothetically, if someone sends a message at the end of the work day on Friday that completely changes work you’re supposed to start at 8 am Monday, but won’t explain what’s going on until 7 am Monday…you might be inclined to spend all weekend guessing what might be going on. That could ruin your weekend, right?

But, I’ve been doing my damnedest to not get myself all worked up over things I can’t control. I can’t change whatever decision happened that my input wasn’t wanted on. I don’t even know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, because I don’t know the details. I’m just gonna have to deal with the consequences. Monday.

Worry doesn’t change a situation other than to make you feel bad the entire time you’re worrying.

I do have a hint that I’ve figured out through this situation, that might lead to happier relationships, whether with family, friends, or colleagues. Nah. I don’t. Hints you share for people who will never actually read or hear your words are sorta passive aggressive. Give that up, Suna.

Look, pretty flowers.

I’m guessing that, being human and fallible, I’m going to remain annoyed from time to time this weekend. But then I’ll remind myself that I wrote these messages to myself to remember to be way more philosophically consistent, more Zen, and kinder to myself.

You can only change your reactions, not the actions of others. Deal with it.

Suna

End of advice to self. You’re welcome, if you also needed to hear this. C’mon, we can practice what we preach! Let’s start now.

What I’m NOT Doing between Now and November

Lately, a lot of my friends and other contacts have been publicly inviting people who disagree with their choice of candidates, platforms, or political parties to “unfriend me now!” I can empathize with what prompts such declarations. You get tired of being called ignorant, or sheep, or whatever, by people you thought cared for you, and who you care(d) about. Or you get tired of those one or two people who sniff out any tiny whiff of partisanship on your part and then blast your friends with the tenacity of a dog with a bone.

Let me tell you ONE more time why I think you’re wrong…gnaw gnaw. Image by @9_fingers_ via Twenty20

Now, I have some pretty strong beliefs on political, social, and religious grounds, and I am not ashamed of them, so I’m not going to succumb to fear and never be who I am in social media. If they come and round me up later for expressing my beliefs, well, I will have led a good and consistent life, and I’ll deal with the consequences.

I don’t think it’s helping one bit to egg people on and act like the stereotype you’re trying to deny you’re a part of, though. So, here’s what I plan to do between now and the beginning of November, which is a big election time in the US (some of you may not know; the US isn’t the most important place for everyone on earth, I’m told).

I’m also going to spend a lot more time looking at nature, like this extra cool Apache jumping spider.

I’m not going to remove from my social media accounts all my friends, coworkers, business contacts, and family members who express their affiliation with a different candidate than the one I favor. Believe it or not, I find that I do have other things in common with them, or like them for other reasons. It’s possible if your mindset isn’t that, “Every Party X member is a doofus.” (I will point out that yes, some Party X members are doofuses; some party Y and Z members are ALSO doofuses.)

Right? Image by  @desteniev via Twenty20.

I will “snooze” some folks on Facebook if something they say upsets me, but I won’t un-follow, unfriend, or whatever, unless someone comes across as genuinely dangerous or unhinged. So, yeah, if you threaten to kill me or people I love, I might put some distance between us. That’s just common sense.

I’m not going to waste my breath and time trying to “educate” or chastise people who say things I disagree with or find mildly offensive in response to comments on other people’s Facebook posts, tweets, or Instagrams. I have learned that’s how you (along wity people like yourself) earn bad reputations with other groups. I see it enough in comments on my own posts, and know how damned hard it can be not to respond (I do fail at times). Just go vote, folks, and realize most others have already made up their minds.

A good plan. Image by @MargJohnsonVA via Twenty20

If I share memes, I’m going to try to make it the constructive and encouraging kind, not the kind that puts down others. I have friends who share some real doozies that I enjoy, because I’m human, but every time I’ve even slightly hinted that some other bunch of folks might not have the right idea about something, I end up feeling bad about doing it. I guess I’m pretty firm that passive-aggressive memes serve more to make the person sharing them look bad than to shame the intended audience.

Slightly off topic, but hey, it’s my blog:

Honestly, I don’t need any help to know I’ve been a bad friend or done some things I shouldn’t have that won’t be forgiven or forgotten. I’m trying to forgive my own dang self and learn from the mistakes, so rubbing my nose in it just makes me resentful, not a better person. I wonder if all the nameless people so many accusatory memes are aimed at feel that way, too, if they see themselves in the words, of course. Targeted memes (personal or political) probably mostly miss the intended audience.

Also off topic: I did finally get a photo of the green heron!

Back on track

Anyway, another thing I’m going to do in social media and in person between now and November is be friendly to everybody I run across. I can find something neutral or positive to talk to just about anyone about, and that is what helps us all remember there’s good in everyone. Engaging with the people around me is one concrete thing I can do to help heal the divisiveness and partisan negativity we seem so mired in these days.

We’re all just chickens, say Springsteen and Patty.

I know I’m not alone in seeing people as fellow humans first, and labels second. It’s easy to disparage a faceless group, but one on one, it’s a lot harder. I am glad to have people around me who are great role models in this way of interacting, and yes, some of the best ones do not agree with all of my political and social views. When I’m feeling frustrated, I think of all the hard-working and thoughtful people I know who are trying to make the world better by working with each other. Thanks to everyone who helps with that!

How about you, are you up for trying any of the things I’m going to try to do for the next couple of months? If you’re not, what is your plan for dealing with the challenges of the pre-election period? What’s working for you?

Let’s talk!

Passive Aggressive Facebook Posts Are for Doofuses and Doofi

Gee, Suna, what are you going to rant about today? Maybe you can complain about something, and by doing so, do the thing you are complaining about. We used to have a word for that in linguistics, but never mind. At least you are presenting both alternative pluralizations of doofus, to please your friends.

From the 2016 article by Alex Miles

You know how you ignore things and ignore things, then one day your tolerance dips or something, and you suddenly get really annoyed? Today that happened. I saw just one too many vague, passive aggressive Facebook meme about how “some people” just don’t do the right thing. I just shouted aloud in the parking garage, “If you have a problem with someone, TELL THEM.”

I then ran off and found a fine article to back up what I was feeling: How Facebook is a Weapon for Passive-Aggressive Destruction, by Alex Miles. Three years ago, she was also getting sick and tired of people who would rather fire off vaguely worded barbs at “someone” than talk to whoever it is about what’s bugging them. “Someone” is just supposed to KNOW the barb is about them, and learn from the helpful advice and turn their lives around. HA. Nope.

Myles points out:

The classic method of passively displaying aggression on social media is via quotes and memes that say something, often seemingly politely, gracefully or even cryptically, but the intent behind the message is condescending, patronizing and deliberately posted to make a definite point. There is a degree of separation in this method as the person sharing them is not the one who wrote the words originally.

How Facebook is a Weapon for Passive-Aggressive Destruction

This one stabbed me right in my highly sensitive soul. And who among us has not dealt with this:

…if the passive-aggressive one is confronted and questioned they may downplay the situation by reverting to denial and manipulation. They might even send smiley emoticons to make it seem as though they are perfectly at peace and then turn everything around to make the person questioning them appear over-sensitive, paranoid and as though they are overanalyzing or imagining things.

Same source
Or need some good old-fashioned therapy, a thing you do not obtain on Facebook.

Go ahead and read the article, which does provide some insight into how people end up doing this stuff, and ideas about how to nip it in the bud. I give Myles credit for thinking people just might be able to actually talk to others about their behavior, discuss whatever brought it on, and come to a mutual understanding and trusting relationship. That sure would be nice!

Am I wise or what?

My favorite solution for doofuses or doofi I know who engage in this behavior is to ignore it, and then send some invisible love rays out to them, because they obviously need it. Doesn’t that make me seem saintly.

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