If They Bring Out The Worst In You, Leave

How To Actually Be Brave

Thoughts on how to be brave…

I haven’t been writing much lately. I’ve felt emotionally bloated, stunted, like something’s on the tip of my fingers just waiting to be set free and I keep holding it back. I think what I’ve learned about writing for the internet is that I need to be “stronger” than I actually am or, at least, I need to give less fucks than I actually do. The problem is I actually give too many fucks. I am deeply affected by criticism, especially when I feel it is unfair or unwarranted and personally directed at me or people I care for, or anyone, or just humans who are trying to light up their corner of the world. I know this is uncool to admit and the Company Line Of The Internet is IGNORE EVERYONE, but I am not very good at that.

I’m fucking sad.

I’m really sad when someone’s addition into the world is to lash out at others. I’m all about passionately defending your position and protecting your corner of the world, but these vicious attacks on each other is something I don’t know I will ever be okay with. I’m not sure I ever want to be desensitized to this behavior. The moment I become indifferent to blatant hate and attacks on character and disrespect is when I should probably just give up, because I know that if I normalize hate, attack, and disrespect, I will become those things. I will hate. I will attack. I will disrespect. If I am not standing against it, I am standing for it. There is no neutral.

I could easily harden against the world, fall victim to bitterness and judgment and hopelessness. These things are much easier to be than hopeful, open-minded, and tolerant. Do you know how difficult it is to love people and not judge people even when they are spitting hate and insults your way? Do you know how much easier it would be for me to open up an anonymous account and just steamroll into people? It’s as easy as feeding the beast. There is nothing virtuous and strong about tearing others down.

It’s literally the easiest fucking thing in the world to just hate others and stay uneducated and ignorant and decide to care only about yourself to the detriment of others. It is the breeziest, most simple thing in the world to just… give up, fuck everybody, and become another faceless judgment spewing out a hateful, stupid opinion about people I know nothing about. The easiest! I could decide RIGHT THIS MINUTE to become that and it would require nothing. I wouldn’t have to grow as a person. I wouldn’t have to heal my wounds or become self-aware or do anything productive ever. I could just be The Worst, full time hater, position effective immediately.

If you think strength is being an asshole or a bitch or being snarky or sitting up on a high horse judging others for how they’re not living up to your image of perfection, then you have never experienced true strength. Strength is not the loudest person in the room, demanding everyone look their way. Strength does not create anonymous accounts and spew what should be self-directed frustration onto others. Strength does not promote the kind of selfishness which requires using other people as a means to elevation. Strength is not push, push, push, force, force, force, anger, anger, anger. Strength is not hate. Strength is not projecting bullshit, half-hatched assumptions onto others. These things require nothing! They are the lowest common denominator reactions to life.

Strength is fucking earned. Strength comes from enduring. Strength comes from facing down the call to hate and then softening against the world. Strength is love and the courage necessary to face yourself and all the ugly and beautiful parts of life that comes with that.

It takes actual courage to open-heartedly love and to be tolerant of people you do not understand. There is bravery in seeing the light in others, even when they cannot see it in themselves. Virtue can be seen in those who deny themselves the easy path of judgment and, instead, seek to educate themselves in an effort to empathize. There is strength in caring about more than just yourself and vowing to add more love into the world with your actions, words, time, and energy. It takes a bold person to be known, truly, by others, to be seen and to let their heart guide their way, instead of their prejudices, especially when it would be the far easier and more comfortable path to follow prejudice.

It is strength to stand for something which is to the benefit of humanity, not just the benefit of one. It is not easy. It is not simple. It takes work. It takes healing. It takes commitment and dedication and awareness and consciousness. It takes a constant effort, a constant reminding that love is pure, love is strong, and love does win. It takes more than the easiest way out. And, that’s why it’s rare. But, that’s also why we need it. We need little heroes, people who will dedicate themselves to the light, to goodness, to love. We need that far more than we need more snark, more pointed judgments. We need so much less of that and so much more love.

So, if you find yourself on the precipice of giving up and becoming that lowest common denominator version of yourself, just remember what strength is. It’ll guide you back. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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