To Be Better – My Vow of Constructive Silence

I am a hypocrite.

Yesterday, I failed to live the morals and ideals I espouse. In a spectacular show of self-righteousness I responded gracelessly to a family member’s comment on one of my Facebook posts. Based on my own prejudice against that side of my family, I assumed the worst about his meaning and intention. Instead of engage him in constructive, compassionate dialogue, I assumed I was smarter, more critical, more compassionate than him and asserted my voice over his.

In the Facebook thread I did apologize to him, but only on the heels of him calling me out. I’m glad he called me out. I needed and deserved it. I want to take this one more opportunity to unequivocably apologize. Steven, I am sorry for the way I treated you. It was inexcusable. You deserve better.

I want to do better. I want to be better.

I am both embarrassed and incredibly disappointed in myself. I realized that I’ve become self-righteous. I have not practiced the critical thought and compassion that I preach are essential to improving the world. I did not assume benevolent intent, a central tenant of my faith in humanity.

So, as penance and to strive to be better I am taking a one-month vow of constructive silence. I’m just making this up. Basically I will not insert my voice into conversations or discussions other than to ask questions of genuine curiosity and interest as I seek to engage more deeply with people. I will remain silent about my opinions, point of view, and feelings unless I am explicitly asked to share.

I will fail at this. I will try everyday, though. And, after a month, my hope is that the effort will have developed a habit of compassionate, curious dialogue.

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I Hate Me + bonus poem “Reflection Judges the Man” [updated]

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Everyday I put effort into improving myself. I am always pursuing goals of personal betterment. I seek to make myself smarter, stronger, healthier, wiser, to use my time in more meaningful ways.

My drive to improve comes from a deep-rooted self-loathing. Writing these words is about the most open and honest I have ever been. I cannot remember a time I’ve ever liked myself, and I know I’ve never felt self-love. But I also wonder, do most people feel this way? Are most people fundamentally dissatisfied with themselves, even if it doesn’t descend to self-hatred?

There’s a test I’ve come up with: Look into a large mirror. Look into your own eyes as if they belonged to someone you’ve known your whole life. Now, can you say, with complete conviction, “I love you”?

I can’t. Continue reading

Goodbye TV shows

Starting this weekend I am going to give up watching traditional, long-form television shows for a whole year. I spend more time than I am eager to admit keeping up with the shows that I “like.” I want that time back. I am realizing that the entertainment I’m getting out of these shows is probably not worth the time I spend watching them.

Continue reading