Thursday, July 5, 2012
Why I don't care.
That being said, I have noticed something about myself in the last month that started with a blog post and has started to take root in my own life. I am intentionally choosing not to engage with the people and ideologies that upset me or that I feel are unjust or flat out incorrect. Usually, when I see something that I believe to be false and harmful, my first instinct has been to attack it and attempt to voice my opinion and beliefs about why I feel it is inherently untrue or damaging to myself or others like me. As the days have gone by since my blog post about a paradigm shift, This Post, I have seen a slow tapering off of such behavior. I cannot say it has been instant or even consistent, but as I read different news articles, engage with friends and strangers in conversation and peruse other blogs with differing world views, I have found myself refusing, at times, to waste my words and energy engaging with people who have no interest in dialogue beyond convincing me in some fashion that they are right and the sole holders of "Truth".
Now, looking at posts after that, I can see it hasn't always been a case of a clear shift towards a less argumentative and less volatile daemon, but it is happening, both in the world of social media and my day to day life. When I encounter things that upset me, people choosing other paths and at times, blatant lies and harmful rhetoric, I am choosing to not even bother engaging them. They don't want to hear what I think and believe. Nothing has ever been accomplished by argument. No one has ever changed my mind and heart about anything by verbally lambasting me, so why have I wasted so much of my own time, attempting to do the same?
I have this new calm voice in my head that speaks up now and says, "I don't care." When people want to argue about politics or religion, it says, "I don't care." When they try to emotionally get me invested in their poor choices and actions...you guessed it. "I don't care."
This may sound like apathy at a first glance and that in some way I have become resigned to the injustice, abuse and ugliness in the world that I live in, but I beg to differ. The difference lies in what that same voice says, "I do care" about. I am choosing to care about and support those whom by their choices, words and actions show me they want a different and better world for themselves and others. The are not reactive as I have been in the past. They do not let other small minded and exclusive individuals pick the stage and arena for their abuse, bigotry and hate, whether it is cloaked in the mantle of faith or politics. They care to do, say and act in ways that bring about life and peace for themselves and those aligned with them. They choose not to waste their time with others who seek not truth or equality, but distortion, obfuscation, falsehood and discrimination. To engage with such people wastes our most precious commodity in life. Our time.
So now when people get under my skin, when their words hurt and malign me and others like me, "I do not care". I choose to care for what I believe in. I choose to engage and live life with people like myself. I do not accept the role of an adversary but am concentrating on living my life by what I believe in instead of letting my time be defined by what I am against. I want to live for, not against. I do not bemoan the time I feel has been wasted, for in it, I have found myself a different path. When we stop engaging with those who dream or posit themselves our enemies, both real and imagined, we become less than authentic and resign ourselves to living beneath who we can be.
This isn't happening over night. I still get upset when I see mean spirited and cruel people trying to control others for their own motives, but I am trying to remember to stop, step back, disengage and then use that energy to motivate me to do something that helps another person. When we stop resisting those who yell, scream, kick, condemn and taunt us, they lose their audience and in that...their power. Their worst nightmare is to be ignored and I hope to help make that happen for all of them. A self proclaimed martyr with no persecutor is nothing but a person committing social suicide. To care for them more humanely is to not add any fuel to the fire they have started to immolate themselves for their perceived cause. If they want to burn, then that is their choice. I will keep walking and looking for open hands to hold, open minds to engage with and open lives to share.
If I can remember to do this, my life and my world will be all the richer for it.