May 16, 2021

How Cancel Culture keeps us from Growing in Relationships.

Today I wanted to talk about cancel culture. 

We see a lot of this in our modern world, whether it be with celebrities, brands, shows, or people in our lives. But, I want to talk about cancel culture and its relation to our lives on a more personal scale, with people who are close to us.

What is cancel culture? 

Cancel culture is when we decide to “cancel” people or drop them from our lives because we do not agree with parts of them or things become too “problematic.”

This phenomenon has happened in my life and a lot of my relationships, and let me tell you…it does not feel great on either end. Though it may feel “easier” to cancel people from our lives when the going gets tough, is it actually better for us in the long run? Or are we just running from something deeper within ourselves?

For example, whenever I was in a relationship with someone (friends, romantic, coworkers, family, et cetera) and they said or did something that I did not like, instead of actually being open and engaging with them about their views or actions, I just decided it would be best to cut them out.

Of course, some people I could not literally cut out of my life. Still, I did this in more metaphorical ways, like labeling them negatively, deciding not to engage with them as much, talking sh*t about them behind their backs, and seething with anger or disdain over their words and actions. 

Was this healthy for me and my relationships? Hell no!

Did I get anywhere in my relationships? Of course not.

Even though I “canceled” someone from my life, another person always showed up later who would repeat the same thing, and, again, the cycle continued.

I wasn’t learning the lessons I needed to learn. I wasn’t asking myself questions such as: 

>> “Why does this person irritate me?” 

>> “What do I not like about that specific action?”

>> “Why am I deciding to remove them from my life in the first place?” 

I never asked myself these questions, and I never reflected on them; I just threw the relationship out like trash. And I felt like trash inside.

I realized that I was afraid of confrontation with others and with myself. I was afraid of asking people the hard questions and perhaps finding out that my perspective isn’t the only perspective in the world (and that it definitely isn’t the right perspective most of the time).

I was afraid to find out that the reason I was actually canceling others was that I was afraid of myself. I was afraid of who I was and how I would be in relation to others.

This was a profound insight for me. But it has stuck with me since and made me realize that our modern world is full of canceling relationships. When the road gets tough, we want to hop off and find comfort on another one.

But, guess what? You will only find the same uncomfortable feelings. These feelings are there for a reason.

It is in the uncomfortable moments that we grow. It is in those hard conversations (that we really do not want to have) that we grow, not only within ourselves but with others.

I feel that we are missing these deep conversations that can help to transform who we think we are in this world and who we are to become. This is what makes our connection to one another stronger.

Even if the relationship crumbles and ends, you will learn something about yourself and the other in the process. This is so important for our growth. Dropping people like flies will not get you anywhere, only to the exact place you were before.

I also get that there are some people you do need to cut out of your life for various reasons. All situations are different, and you have to make the decision about what is best for you at all times.

Some relationships are worth saving instead of canceling. Talking about issues that arise within the relationship is a healthy and mature way to handle differences.

Having an open mind and listening with an open heart is also an important component to honest conversations.

Remember: we are all different, and we all have different experiences from which we view our world.

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