Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dear Child: Don't Be A Hater

If you visit here with any regularity, you know that I don't often use this space to report or comment on what's happening in the blogging community. It's not that I'm not out there reading, it's just that that's not what I want for this space. This is, above all, my journal, begun and maintained more than any other reason as something to leave for my daughter years from now--an organic record of how things were at any given time in her life, as well as a history of other times. I view it more or less as a photo album, but with words. It's for us more than anyone else, even though it's publicly shared. That's why sometimes you might come here and get bored out of your skull by dog pictures and dumb regurgitated inside jokes.

That being said, there have been some things going on lately in and around the blogging community that really leave a bad taste in my mouth, and the way I feel about this makes me consider the way I'd like my daughter to learn to approach similar situations in her own life, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to pass along some of the lessons that my own mother taught me.

Don't be a hater. There is just no quarter in it. Not for you, not for your target, not for any observers. When you spew negativity, you're not just running someone else down--you're poisoning yourself--hardening your own heart. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. And energy spent on vitriol, jealousy, resentment, criticism, and mockery is energy you're then unable to invest in kindness, compassion, understanding, charity, helpfulness, and love. It only pays dividends in bitterness. Time you spend spreading discontent is time you can never get back. It's time you'll never have again to spend with your family, play with your pets, lose yourself in a good book.

I want you to know that, in this wide, wide world, there is enough. There is enough success, enough goodness; there are enough blessings to go around. You don't need to take from someone else in order to have something for yourself, and you don't need to diminish anyone else to increase your own stature. In point of fact, those strategies rarely work, at least not in the long run. Conversely, someone else's success does not take anything away from you. Be happy for the good fortune of others. If someone accomplishes something that you haven't yet, something that you want for yourself, don't think, "That should be mine, and I'm angry that it isn't." Instead, think, "How did they do it? How can I learn from what they did? What can I do better, to get where I want to be?" Jealousy is pointless. Not only is there enough goodness to go around, but the stunning fact that most people miss is this: You can make more.

With every choice you make, you're deciding what to add to the world. Ask yourself what you'd rather it be--a snide remark, or a word of encouragement? A slap to the face, or a comforting embrace? The choice is yours. A frustrating fact of life is that you cannot control other people. People in your life will do things that hurt you, upset you, sadden you, and even betray you. You hold no sway over them, so don't waste your effort. You control one thing in this life: Yourself. So while you can't control the actions of others, you are the master of your own actions and reactions. Be quick to think and slow to act, and choose accordingly. The smallest things, good and bad, can have the most lasting impact, a lesson many of us learn far too late in life, and some of us not at all.

Play nicely. Speak kindly. Share. Love others as you would be loved yourself. You won't, nor should you, always agree with others, but please always respect them. Consider the humanity beneath any rough display of ugly or offensive behavior--no matter what, everyone was someone's baby, someone's child once, as you are mine now. And as much as I would make it so that no one in this world ever hurts you, I would also like to send you out into this world living your own personal version of the Hippocratic Oath: First, do no harm. But you know what? I think you can do better. I think that you, or anyone who wants to, can really do better than just holding your tongue, simply not inflicting active damage. I know that you can, as much as you decide to, offer goodness when it would be easier to dole out punishment. "Kill 'em with kindness," as my mother advised me at least a million times.

Do it often enough, and you'll find that kindness becomes the most readily-accessible arrow in your quiver. You'll also find that you're a darn good shot.

In short? Be good.

58 comments:

  1. I love this post too. You said it beautifully. Beautifully! And with so much love. xoxo

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  2. I needed this reminder. Thank you.

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  3. oh, how I loved this post.

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  4. It was a good post, but it left me wondering if there's something big going on in the blogosphere that I haven't heard about...

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  5. Sounds like your mom and mine could have been sisters. (I miss her every day)

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  6. Very well written. Thank you for the reminder.

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  7. Yes. Especially this:

    :I want you to know that, in this wide, wide world, there is enough. There is enough success, enough goodness; there are enough blessings to go around. :

    YES.

    xoxo

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  8. Rules to live by... and yet... all too many people are living lives of hate, jealously, and fear. It's almost an epidemic.

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  9. Running to my printer to print this out for my daughter. So well said. Well played.

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  10. Very well said.

    You know, I know who is being hated on but not who the haters are. I admit I was rather shocked that people are being so silly in hating other bloggers for good fortune, or more importantly, reward for sheer hard work.

    As a blog gets bigger it becomes freaking hard work. And if they are rewarded for their work with a few sheckles thrown from some companies that is fabulous!

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  11. Belinda, that was beautiful. Thanks for that! (oh...and you rock. :-))

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  12. Thank you. My thoughts exactly. The blogosphere often reminds me of a jr. high slumber party -- lots of gossip and jealousy.

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  13. This post reminds me of a line from a John Mayer song (oh lord, she's quoting John Mayer?):

    I believe that my life's gonna see the love I give returned to me.

    I firmly believe that the energy we put out there will come back to us. That's why I love what you've written here.

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  14. I'm missing what is going on too, but I love what you said. :)

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  15. as usual, i am oblivious to all the hating. but am TOTALLY and completely glad that you are putting this alternative out there, belinda. yay, you!

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  16. so beautiful.

    you are a wise woman. there is enough to go around for everyone.

    Isabel

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  17. Well said. Well said indeed.

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  18. Incredibly well put. And thank you for reminding me that being nice never costs us anything. And we get so much back in return... :)

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  19. You are very wise for a young woman. Usually wisdom comes with age. Bless you, your Mom did a great job

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  20. It's not just the blogosphere, unfortunately. I see too much of it on t.v. and other media, particularly with reality shows. It's like people are constantly trying to outdo each other with more violence, more negativity, more aggressive sex, like that makes them more intriguing, more edgy, more now.

    Your letter to your daughter was so well said it brought tears to my eyes. There is enough...and we can always make more. Thanks.

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  21. It's as though you wrote that letter for me. Thanks for the reminders: there is always enough, I can make more, be good. You have a very lucky daughter.

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  22. There is always more than enough.

    If only people understood that, and really, truly believed it.

    It's a great reminder. Thank you.

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  23. A big, fat, AMEN.

    Well said, well said.

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  24. Amen- that is about all I can say to such a great post!!

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  25. Feeling chastised for not responding to the situation as gracefully as you have, and agreeing with all you've written.

    Thank you for the reminder. :)

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  26. just right, belinda. such wise words. thank you.

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  27. Beautiful post, I think I may print it off and tack it up!

    Iam so uncool that I just learned the term 'hater' today. You're the third person to use it today in my presence. What's up with the haters?

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  28. I don't even know how to respond to the tons of feedback (in comments, emails, IMs, sk*rt, Twitter, etc.) that this post has generated but to thank you all for the validation. It ain't always easy, this life, but sometimes I forget that it doesn't have to be as hard as we make it, either.

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  29. Late to the party, as usual. This is so beautiful. {{{HUG!}}} (if I may)

    Like others, I have no idea what the situation is you're talking about, though I have seen much ugliness toward Dooce over the past couple years, which seems unnecessary, misplaced, and a waste of energy that could have been used positively to build rather than tear down.

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  30. It's too sad that there are so many haters out there. Why bother reading if you're just going to turn everything sour?

    Great post.

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  31. totally agreed, especially with so many fairy blogmothers out there, why would you go to the dark side?

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  32. Missing out on whatever is going on - but not sad about it in the least! (Too busy loving on my kids, blogging daze are behind me for a few years...) Anyway, I love this post (and you!) and thank you for saying/writing this. It is SO true - all you say, so eloquently!

    Like GOSSIP - jealousy - HISSES when you say it/do it!!!

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  33. You ROCK! This is just so very awesome and affirming.

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  34. yes.
    it's the word that made john lennon fall in love with yoko ono. she of the strange art had put the word yes on a tiny piece of paper and attached it to the ceiling. lennon had to climb a ladder to see it. he said later that if it had been a negative word he would have been completely turned off. but it wasn't. it was a generous, positive, life affirming world of a word with just three letters.
    if only all the hater 'no' people could read your wonderfully written post and have an epiphany!

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  35. Yes, I agree kindness even a smile can go so much further. It seems with the way the world is today, even the unpredictable with our elections its sometimes hard to be nice. We often carry an edge. Thanks for reminding us to try to be more positive. Even a smile can go along way...sent over from sugarpants....

    My best,
    Dorothy from grammology
    remember to call gram
    www.grammology.com

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  36. You make me want to be a better mom.

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  37. Anyone reading this post will be a better person. An exquisite elaboration of a 4 word mantra that guides my life - "Be Kind. Help Others". Thanks for such a lovely, inspiring and educational post, Belinda. I'm asking my daughter to read it.

    All success
    Dr.Mani

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  38. Great post. And, I love the Ninja Poodles.

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  39. Wow. What a powerful statement of abundance.

    Thanks :-)

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