Growth comes from experience—experience comes from living life, good and bad.
Suck it up, Buttercup!
I know; how rude of me, right? In today’s world, we are only nanoseconds away from either offending someone else or being offended. It is truly a downward spiral into an endless void of nothingness.
We can no longer just speak our minds, give an opinion, or respond to a question without first putting an entire disclaimer paragraph ahead of what we are about to say. Just in case our words are misinterpreted, taken the wrong way, or misconstrued. It is sad.
Why? Well, what it really means is that we no longer stand for something. We are not “allowed” to have an opinion on a subject matter because we have to censor ourselves on every level. We are basically bleaching our statements to make them fit into all shapes and sizes. Yet, we are all confused about how to act!
Why? Because we eliminated all guidelines!
The saying “rules are made to be broken” can only be relevant when there are ironclad rules, to begin with. If we have no standards, baselines, or guidelines, then nothing can be “broken” or “bent” because we don’t even know what we are actually changing.
We are all depressed, confused, and uncertain because our standards and rules have been washed out. What happened to having an opinion, and instead of screaming at each other about it, we have a discussion to explain our perspectives? Why we think a certain way (experiences, interactions, people watching, et cetera).
By merely exchanging points of view, we learn from one another. This does not mean one person walks away as the winner or loser. It means we have shared our thoughts and opinions, learned something new about each other, broke down barriers, cleared up misunderstandings, and now have a much broader knowledge about a subject matter.
And, most importantly, we have added to our knowledge bank and have grown as human beings by opening up our minds to other peoples’ views of the world. We can all agree to disagree on things.
Can you imagine how absolutely boring life would be if we all had the exact same thoughts, opinions, likes, and dislikes? And who would decide on what they are anyway?
The joy of life is experiencing other cultures, backgrounds, languages, religions, fashion sense, music, and so much more. What would there be to learn if everyone would look, talk, think, and do the same thing day in and day out?
Yet, here we are in a world trying to please everyone. We fluff up every word and package it a certain way before we hand it over to the person in front of us, just to ensure they won’t get offended or mad at us. I am not saying to be blatantly rude, despicable, and crude! Common sense is a skill, and everyone should acquire it.
I consider myself to be open-minded; I do not judge anyone by their skin color, language, background, religion, political opinions, gender, or career path. I judge by manners and behaviors; if you are a kind human being, honest, and genuinely care about others, that is what matters to me.
So many people use offensiveness as a way out of accountability for their own actions—victimhood versus admission to one’s own shortcomings.
Guess what? There is nothing dishonorable about being wrong, failing at something, or getting one’s feelings hurt; that is how we grow!
I remember when my kids were born, and all I wanted was to protect them from literally everything the world had to offer. No matter where I was, I would sprint to their defense and rescue. I did not want them to hurt, physically or emotionally. As parents, we become (almost) psychics, trying to foresee any possible scenario and preparing for alternative outcomes. We drive ourselves crazy!
Then there comes a point when we are doing more harm than good. Are we teaching them that there is always someone coming to their rescue? That they should, under no circumstance, get hurt? That nobody is allowed to hurt their feelings? That they are winners all the time? That only they are correct in their thinking and doing?
See where I’m going with this? We would be raising brats! As parents, we hurt their feelings probably more times than anyone (gasp). How many times have you told your kids no? Not to be mean, but out of pure love and having their best interest in mind? How many times did you become ill and the world did not revolve around you? How many times have you had setbacks and had to struggle, persevere, and get to the bottom of a situation to make things work out for yourself and your kids?
How do you know true accomplishment without ever having lost at something or have come in second or last? How will you not repeat a mistake if nobody has ever told you that you did something wrong? How will you not avoid a possibly risky situation if you have not gotten hurt before?
How will you correct your own path if you have not been allowed to go down the wrong one? How will you “survive” a loss or betrayal if someone always protected you from these situations or forbid you to enter any type of friendship or relationship? How will you learn to give back if you have only ever taken from others? How will you ever care if you only have taken things for granted?
Sure, hopefully, there are supportive people around you for support, but in the end, nobody is going to take off your load completely or forever. There comes a time when you have to suck it up, get up, and take action versus being a bystander complaining about everything.
Complaining, pointing fingers, and whining is easy. Assisting, guiding, or advising can only come into play when we have actually experienced downfalls, setbacks, disappointments, loss, sadness, failure, and being misjudged.
We had to get over our own crappy circumstances by going through the tough times in order to rescue ourselves. Did we have help? Certainly (hopefully), but unless we do the actual work by actively participating in the outcome, we have no room to complain if we don’t like the end result.
We are all different! Our differences make life interesting. I am not talking about judging or stereotyping. We can all learn from each other about each other but should still be able to hold on to our beliefs after we discussed our different viewpoints.
We might change our perspectives (on both sides), have a clearer understanding of the other person’s frame of reference and why they think what they think or say what they say, but this should all be possible without having to censor ourselves at all times.
How do we truly know who we are, who we are talking to, and what we are talking about if everything is presented in a “perfect” politically correct package? Do we even know ourselves? Our own opinion without interference from the outside world? Is what we are thinking and saying truly us or a mere reflection of our environment and people?
Are we living in an echo chamber because we only hear what we want to hear by surrounding ourselves with like-minded people? Do we dare to step into a zone that is uncomfortable?
Every generation has its own struggles, but because of that, we have wisdom to pass on; advice based on experience.
Life is not fair. Ever. We will never be perfectly happy and content all the time, but we can compromise and utilize every chance we get to improve our circumstances by being resourceful.
Happiness is not handed to anyone; it is an inside job. You can sit back and wait for life to happen to you, or you jump up and actively participate—good and bad.
Brace yourself and buckle up for the emotional rollercoaster ride.
No setbacks mean no stories. No scars mean not having fully lived.
No wrinkles mean no laughter. Your life is what you make it.
So go out and fail forward, be kind, be open-minded, and never stop learning.