May 20, 2015

Remember: not everyone who is your friend is good for you

I've cut off my Facebook News Feed on my laptop, with the help of News Feed Eradicator (try it! it's wonderful) because there are too many things on it that are not good for my soul right now. Too many things make me feel annoyed, or angry, or indignant, or bitter, and I just felt like while I deal with the things inside me, it's better not to have News Feed screw me up more.

Besides this, I said to someone recently that all your friendships either make you a better or a worse person. While this may seem like a very selfish reason to pick and choose your friends, I'm not advocating that you do not extend love to everyone. However, it's important that we take care of our own souls. Don't give ourselves a reason to fall into temptation - whether addiction, unkind and ungracious speech, jealousy or anger. We become like the people we hang around. I've realised that there are a few friendships that are useless for me to upkeep - angry people with angry, loose or shallow Facebook posts that don't edify my life, and whose lives I also don't edify, because we can't engage one another with open hearts. Or maybe I'm just being selfish - I'm tired of hearing their ignorant, pessimistic views, and tired of trying to help them see things from a kinder perspective while they continue to arrogantly and crudely put down the things I stand for (like humble generosity,  or believing the best in people, or extending sympathy, for example). Today I stumbled upon a Facebook post on my phone (because I can't eradicate News Feed on my phone), sighed, took a few deep breaths, and proceeded to cleanse my Facebook feed of a few people who were not doing me any good. They might've been my friends. Might have been really nice to me, efficient people, people that society values. Doesn't make them healthy for my soul.

But we also cannot forget compassion. I was reading about compassion recently. Compassion means "to suffer with", and is about joining a person in his/her suffering. When we engage in compassion, when we identify with someone's hurt and feel their pain with them, we give and receive simultaneously. As we share our lives and hearts with another, our souls are also enriched. Compassion ensures that your friendships make you a better person, because you're learning and developing. I guess there are many things to juggle while learning how to love people - compassion is key, but also protect yourself.

Shrug. We're all navigating this, all trying to nurse our souls, while Other People try to tell us what to believe. I wish you all the best. I am trying, too.

Random side note: Why is it that the strongest / most outspoken / most aggressive LGBT advocates, feminists and religious people are also sometimes seen as the least loving, or most intimidating? Being advocates of what they're advocates of, one would expect these people to also be the most accepting and loving and approachable, and the least 'harmful'; yet people tend to shy away from them. In fact, these three groups should have close ties with one another, too; along with groups that advocate awareness for the homeless, the poor, the sick, the helpless, the mistreated and neglected people who fall through the cracks.

Perhaps it's the loudness and aggression that rubs the wrong way. Or perhaps the aggression is a result of having fought fiercely, and having been embittered by annoying people. Maybe they have become less loving and accepting than they preach. I think we advocates of love and equality have a new game-changing aspect to add to our cause: that of gentle, genuine, unreserved acceptance, which also happens to be the crux of our cause itself. Perhaps we don't need to see ourselves so much as slayers and warriors, and more as passionate messengers of love.

(Am I making sense? Is this a dangerous post? Am I going to get a lot of negative Facebook comments and flak and judgment?)

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