Sticks and Stones And Words That Hurt You

be-an-encourager

I was recently “cat fished”.

In case that’s a word you’re not familiar with, according to Urban Dictionary, here is the definition: Being deceived over online profiles as the deceiver professed their romantic feelings to his/her victim, but isn’t who they say they are.

It’s a loose description. There’s a whole documentary about it. It happens. Usually to older, unsuspecting people, usually women, but I never would’ve thought that it would happen to me. I spent 2 weeks talking to this guy, he was charming and open and lovely and very handsome, mature etc. All the things you would expect. Now, I’m not an online virgin. It’s not like I don’t know the way of the world…but I got duped by this guy. Turns out, he was just out to get his rocks off without having to leave the house. For all I know, he could be a perverted 80 year old man sitting in a retirement home with a laptop and free WiFi.

It happens. I know it happens. Knowing it happens, doesn’t make it any easier when it does happen. I felt like a chump for a few days. How did I miss that? It wasn’t even as though anything major happened. I woke up 2 weeks into it with a niggling feeling I couldn’t shake. And it turns out I was right. No fireworks. No money lost. Just someone with no regard for another human.

So while my ego took a bit of a hit, do you know what was hit even harder? My heart. Knowing that there is someone in the world, someone who got into MY world, who deceives people for hours a day, every single day. How on earth did someone like that get through? How did I not see it?

Anytime something like that happens, whether it’s to me directly, or whether it’s something that happens to another, I feel it. There is nothing awesome about deceiving someone…whether it’s to deliberately cat fish someone, or whether it’s to lie or steal from them. What’s the purpose? To hurt another? Is that how you win?

I just watched a video of one of our weather reporters in Vancouver, on one of the major news networks, get attacked via an anonymous letter because she’s pregnant and the viewers think they have a right to write in and tell her what they think of the clothes she’s wearing and how they think she looks in them. They feel she should be wearing “more appropriate” maternity attire and use words that no one has the right to say to another.  Course if they were well known fashion designers they would’ve signed their names to the letters they sent.  That’s just not nice.

I read that Kathy Griffin is leaving some talk/fashion show she was one of the hosts of because she could no longer perpetuate the culture of bullying celebrities based on how they look or what they wear. While I’m not a huge fan of Kathy Griffin, I applaud her reasons for leaving the show.

And then, just a few minutes ago, I read this post about Monica Lewinsky and her TEDtalk. I saw Monica’s talk on another platform shortly before her TEDtalk in Vancouver. I was excited for her. She had an opportunity to finally face the public and share what her life has been like since she was the first person publicly shamed via the internet.  At 24, what Monica went through, no one should ever have to go through, no matter how old. She isn’t responsible for the state of affairs in America or any other country. She just did what she did when she was 24. Aren’t there things you did in your 20s you cringe thinking about now that you’re older and you know better?

I bet none of those shenanigans ended up on the internet. So this post I just read…Made me cry. Why? Because people can be so hurtful and mean. Social media has made it easier, and quite frankly, acceptable for the most part to be mean to someone online.  Teenagers are killing themselves because of cyber bullying. That is not okay.

When did we stop being awesome to each other? When did it become “normal” to be anything less than kind? Considerate? Aware of another person’s feelings?  I am always mortified by the comments left on photos/posts/youtube videos. When did things become so personal? When did it become okay to hurt someone’s feelings knowingly? Intentionally?

I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t have a solution. It breaks my heart every single day to see things like this go on. Monica Lewinsky is ever so brave for taking what happened to her, for turning her shame into something positive. Something that could potentially make a difference in the world. And yet, people still want to bring her down?

Don’t you think there’s enough of that going on in the world right now?  How about we just stop doing it? How about we go back to lifting each other up, rather than doing whatever we can to tear each other down?

Isn’t that the world you want to live in? One where your kids get to grow up knowing they are awesome? One where you get to tell your friends how awesome they are just because they are. One where you know there isn’t anything that you can’t do because you have people who have your back? A world where you get to wake up every day knowing feeling awesome because you were awesome to another?

Doesn’t THAT sound like a much better world to live in?

So can we please just stop with the mean, hurtful, horrible things and return ourselves back to loving each other?

“We talk a lot about our right to freedom of speech, but we need to talk more about our responsibility to freedom of speech.” ~ Monica Lewinsky

Rita xo

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We Are Not Our Failures (WDS2013 recap)

everything in moderation

Showing up at the World Domination Summit this year was a tough call for me. Although I went last year and had the most amazing and life altering experience, and bought my ticket right there on the spot when we were given the opportunity, how things rolled out wasn’t exactly how I would’ve thought they would’ve rolled out. Funny how life keeps handing us circumstances and we have to keep dealing with them. Or we don’t. I suppose all of life is a choice isn’t it?  I had enough circumstances in my life over the past couple of months that technically, I could’ve gotten away with not going. I could’ve just cancelled the hotel, and lost the price of the ticket, and not gone. Especially since the circumstances just kept piling up.

What kind of circumstances? Well. The things that happen in life. We roll along, everything’s good, and then BAM! We get hit in the face with unexpected things that happen in life. In my case, the first of many circumstances was the unexpected ending of my relationship. That was just the first in a series of things that have happened over the past couple of months. I walked into WDS heartbroken on so many levels. So. Many. Levels. It’s been a very very long time since I’ve been this unhappy for this long a stretch of time.

So far, all the blog posts and tweets and Facebook status updates have all pointed to “WDS is about the people.” I would have to second that. It really is about the people. There is a level of conversation that happens in a few minutes with strangers that doesn’t happen in everyday life.  We are all there to get connected.  To bond and fall in love with all of those like minded individuals who make us grateful to be alive.

We learned about how to be happy, and how to dream bigger, how to speak with confidence, and let go of fear. We heard people talk about meet ups and catch ups and all kinds of ups. I saw people crying in corners because they were so moved by the experience, and other times I saw people crying because they weren’t sure they belonged here…to this tribe of people. I say, if you were there, you belonged.

I didn’t think I belonged at the weekend either. I had a lot of thoughts about skipping out of it.  Staying in my hotel room until it was all over.

Walking into the weekend,  I felt like a failure.

Throughout the course of the weekend, I cried a few tears. Had a lot of conversations. Was moved by so many of the speakers. Especially Jia Jiang who spoke about 100 Days of Rejection Therapy. How unbelievably awesome of him to go out into the world and try and get rejected as a way of working through his fear of rejection. So many of us, including me, see rejection as a failure.

We don’t get the job we want.

We failed.

We don’t get the girl/guy we want.

We failed.

We don’t get (fill in the blank).

We failed.

And then, Donald Miller took the stage and put this slide up on the screen.

we are not our failures

What if he’s right? What if we are not our failures? What if what we are is simply extraordinary people doing extraordinary things? What then? What if feeling like a failure is a whole lot different than actually BEING a failure?

He shared about a relationship he had that he royally effed up…you could tell, he has regret. Remorse about how it went. But he did the work. He did what he needed to do and only a week before he gave this talk, got engaged to his lady.  I needed to hear his words. I needed to know that what’s going on with me, isn’t something that is personal to me. It’s more common than we think.

Yes, there are a lot of people who think that they can’t go to the conference until they quit their day jobs. Or until they find their passion. Or until they start traveling or whatever their reason is. None of that is true. I haven’t quit my day job. I’m not some social media expert. Sure, I blog. A lot. But I’m not expert at much of anything. Except life. I have a commitment to put an end to bullying. I don’t know how. But I do know that bullying has got to stop. That’s what I’m working towards. A world where people express love more than anything else. Freely. Without judgement. Whether that expression is in their art, their work, or their words. It doesn’t matter. I just want there to be more love in the world.

Even if it means I’ll end up heartbroken more often.

I think it’s safe to say that WDS is the epitome of awesome. Some of the best people in the world coming together to facilitate making the world a better place. A Conference for Good, if you will.

And one very powerful takeaway? That every single person in that auditorium wanted me to win. No matter what I said, or did, they would’ve cheered for me, even if they didn’t know me. Because that is who these people are. I spend a lot of time in my life believing in others. Making sure that the people in my life know that there is nothing they can’t succeed at because I believe in them. Well, I have to tell you, this was my very first time being fully present to the experience of that for myself. And for each and every single person in that room.

At WDS, you can’t fail. It’s not even a possibility.

And what’s beautiful, is once we leave Portland and come home…all over the world…it’s up to us to keep that magic alive.

And THAT is where we get to own our awesome.

I walked into WDS2013 questioning the goodness in the world. Wondering if I was wrong in where I was standing for the world to be a better place and that there is a lot of love when you look for it. I walked into the weekend wondering if the cynics in my life were right. Maybe the world is full of people who are just out to get you. Maybe nothing does come for free. Maybe, people really are the opposite of good.

And then…I spent the weekend with enough people to remind me that my view of the world is MY creation and yes, although there are people who may not want to be responsible for hurting others, or people who may hurt us…it doesn’t change the fact that if you allow yourself to see it, the world is filled with richness, goodness and wonder.

I don’t think I have enough words to capture, how grateful I am to have my faith in the world, restored.

go forth and dominate the world through good things.

rita