I have a choice…

While I’m not in the business of selling other authors’ work, I do feel a need to share great stuff when I find it.

This book is (so far) pretty great, which is why I’m sharing it with you.

The takeaway (for now) is the mantra that “I have a choice” in how I respond to my thoughts, what thoughts I entertain and maybe I’m taking liberties, but I also have a choice with what I let in, what I put out, and how I perceive others.

In this crazy world, I can think of worse things to consider.

Last week I responded to a post on a public forum with what I thought was a positive comment. In seconds, people I didn’t know were brow-beating me (as only online, faceless, “brave” warriors can) about my comment. I have studied writing long enough to know how to craft a message. Or, so I thought. The tone and intent this first person (and others as well) read into my words shocked and surprised, and dare I admit– also hurt me.

I immediately began to reply to correct, as kindly as possible, the misperception of my statement.

But the floodgates had opened and more people were saying things- some positive, some negative. I left the computer to regroup.

As I walked around my neighborhood, breathing in fresh air and saying safe, socially-distant hellos to neighbors and their dogs (who doesn’t love a sweet puppy?!) I realized there was no point in any response I could give. It, too, would be read into, misunderstood, and useless in changing anyone’s mind.

Social media, as I determined years ago, is a soapbox and a megaphone whereby no one listens– or wants to– using the platforms instead to broadcast their ideas and perspectives. Whether you like it or not.

So, I had a choice.

I removed my original comment and swore to stay away from such things again. My focus now would be on positive, helpful posts and comments. When something made me feel any other emotion, I’d ask, ‘what are my choices’?

Because real conversation happens in person, not online. You have a choice. I choose kindness and helping. So, I challenge everyone else to try this too. Before you respond or post, ask, is this helping? Also, in life, ask, what can I do to make things better?

You might be shocked by what you find. We all have power to change things. My little contribution now is to maintain an online ‘cafe’ where my students know that at certain times in the week they can stop by for group conferencing that has NO AGENDA. So far we mainly talk food, pets, and pop culture. Will this change the world? Maybe. But I know one thing it will do for certain. It will make my students aware that someone cares about them. It’s a small thing for me– an investment of time, but it might make a difference.

You have a choice. Will you find a way to make a difference- big or small- in your sphere of influence?

Let us know in the comments what you came up with and how it’s going. Together I think we can make little changes that could make a big difference in your neighborhood, community, workplace, or maybe the world. Choose to do something, choose to say something, choose to think about something that will help. Choose to move on from anger, upset, and all the rest and take steps to good.

Looking forward to hearing your positive thoughts!

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