Yesterday my goal was to write about the importance of lining up our intentions with the ultimate results that they deliver. I quickly realized the irony in that the very thing I wrote about was a failed lesson on my end. My intention to share a positive learning lesson did not line up with the negative impact that ensued. After posting, I wrote the mom that I referenced, notifying her of the article with the hopes of letting her know that there are no hard feelings and that nothing was taken personally so that she would approach reading it with the proper lens. I let her know that my goal was to share how we can all personally improve by being aware of the impact we often unknowingly make. I really did try to line up my intention and impact by reaching out to her shortly after publishing my thoughts to avoid any hurt feelings on her end. From that moment, I became the recipient of cruel comments, hurtful jabs, and direct insults. I was also blocked from texting her, she unsubscribed from my blog, and unfollowed me (while also removing me as her follower) from Instagram.
Never ever did I expect such a reaction. Yes, I was fully aware of the possibility that perhaps she may be taken aback and caught off guard by my article. That's why I immediately wrote her to provide some context to my post. I never thought, however, that by being truthful about an experience and the ways that I experienced them, I would then be completely canceled out. Not only was the opportunity to respond to very wounding comments taken away from me, but I have also been removed from ever being allowed to contact her again. Cancel culture at its finest.
This whole experience has left me distraught and upset. I am saddened that I triggered someone to react so negatively when the intention was to trigger positive, introspective contemplation of how all of us are guilty of not lining up our intentions with our actions. I am frustrated that I was so misread and misunderstood. I am most upset that as mature adults we can no longer agree to have different perspectives. Are we really so willing to completely shut people out over differing perspectives? So, yesterday I learned the hard way how easy it is to be tuned out for actually trying harder than ever to be tuned in. I now need to figure out how my message was so easily derailed.
So what have I learned from this encounter?
1) I have learned that sometimes no matter how hard we try to line up our intentions with their actual outcomes, it's just not always possible to do so.
2) I now realize that although I really thought that I have arrived at a wonderful place of no longer taking things personally, I still totally do. I have much more work to do in this area.
3) I acknowledge that I need to come to terms with the fact that most people do not handle any criticism well and that sadly very few adults are emotionally mature enough to be able to accept another perspective without getting defensive. This is making me question how safe we all really feel being honest with one another. If the consequences are as grand as being insulted followed by being shut out entirely, how could any of us feel safe to express our feelings? It seems so much easier to go about our days with a smile on our faces and robotically interact with one another. Luckily, I am not yet at that point nor is it on my destination list.
4) I now know that my words may resonate with some of you and trigger you in the best ways possible while others may be negatively triggered by my points of view. Some of you kindly share how you relate to my posts or how I inspire you in some ways. On the other hand, yesterday I learned that some of you may have the direct opposite experience when reading my words. I am more aware of this now but please understand that I must continue to be honest in how I feel in order for me to figure out what I need to. My intention is never to hurt anyone.
5) Sadly, I learned that seemingly stable adults can easily be pushed to the brink and are so ready to unleash insults, direct blows, and threats. Then, with the push of a few buttons, they can shut you up and discard you. Poof!
People are complex. Life is hard. Growing up is a process. I still stand firmly in my position that we can simplify situations and experiences by just practicing awareness and holding ourselves accountable when we mess up. I screwed up yesterday by writing about an aspiration that ironically was executed in the most opposite way possible. But I was truthful in my intentions and hold myself accountable for the poor delivery. More importantly, I never even considered canceling her out because I disapproved of her behavior.
This blog documents my journey. It's my story. You may have a totally different lens when reading my posts. I do hope though, that occasionally I evoke in you a new way of looking at things as I continue to figure out my own life with all of its enigmas, characters, and experiences. In fact, I hope that occasionally we can figure things out together. Putting my thoughts into words is merely a vehicle for me to sort things out. Please don't jump into the new trend of canceling out others just because you may strongly disagree with them. If we can't be respected for our points of view and not allowed to have a voice, then we'll end up in a society of inauthentic people fearing the repercussions that await if their truth is spoken.
Cancel culture sucks. I bore a tiny, miniscule brunt of its wrath. There are people out there standing up for much more meaningful values that are removed from their job positions, forced into humiliating apologies, publicly rebuked, and worst of all scared to ever share their views again. Can we agree to disagree? Can we agree that sometimes we just screw up and that being given the leeway to do so allows us to evolve and grow? Can we support one another in our journeys?
I am still processing the hurtful and unexpected reaction to yesterday's post. I am definitely trying to explore the ways I have played a role in her extreme outburst. Since I can't speak with her, I am speaking to you. Thank you for giving me the support and space to grow, evolve, and express myself. More so, thank you for not canceling me out of your lives, even when you disagree with me most.