And I’ll be honest…. I kinda roll my eyes a little now. Because I’ve lived in real life community with people and that’s not what it looks like at all. It’s not even the point. When you live in community with others it is dirty and intimate and confronting and sharp and challenging.
It also provides amazing opportunities for growth and companionship - - if you can get past the smell of the other person’s s**t and the fact that they have really different views than you do.
There is so much to love, and so much to learn from those we are in community with. They might not share their views nicely all the time but they are STILL worth learning from even if we get our feelings hurt along the way. If we can get over ourselves, we can become so much more than we were. And that’s a good thing. But it’s no bed of roses. There are at least as many difficult to hear words as there are easy ones.
When I hear women tell me they want a community, what I really hear them saying most of the time is “I feel unsure and alone and I want a place where I will be reassured. I want a place where everyone pats me on the back and tells me that I’m good and right” And I can’t blame them really. Human nature desires this and social media breeds it. We don’t post on facebook when we WANT our friends to challenge us, or educate us, or open our eyes to something new. No. We post on facebook when we want to be reassured that we’re okay. We join groups and forums of other people just like us so that we can be reassured that our way is a good way, the right way even. And the more we do this, the more deeply we resist those voices which speak to the contrary. Anyone who doesn’t smile, nod, and give a pat on the back is said to be “judging”. Anyone who says, ‘Actually, I do it differently because the evidence says its better, or because my experience shows this other way is better’ is called rude or mean or elitist or shaming or judging. Those people who dare to speak against the status quo of any given thread or topic are told they have no business saying what they’re saying because it makes someone else feel bad.
Feelings are not an accurate or reliable barometer of anything except our own inner emotional life in a given moment.
So please…. Next time you feel hurt or judged or shamed by something on the internet…. Before you get upset and leave, or post a comment about hurt feelings and judgement, or send a scathing pm to an admin about why they didn’t stop the other person from making you feel bad…
Stop first and do a little self exploration. Ask yourself what the seed of truth might be in their words and whether is it something you need to examine more closely. Ask yourself WHY you feel so sensitive about an issue and if maybe it’s an area of your life you need to seek healing for.
Ask yourself if you REALLY want to be part of a community with all its messy intimate challenges and opportunities, or if you actually just want an unquestioning pat on the back.
It’s okay either way. Just be honest with yourself. <3