There’s a sickness going around. It’s green, it’s pervasive, and it’s ridiculous. I see people who should be supporting each other and cheering each other on, get all curled up and crabby over another person’s win, as if one person winning means another person loses. This isn’t so. Okay, maybe in Super Bowls or Rock, Paper, Scissors there’s a winner and loser, but in creative pursuits? No. No fucking way.
Listen here, we only have a short while on this planet. A hundred years, give or take. We spend a shit-ton of time sleeping, eating, bathrooming (that’s totally a word, spell check), working, playing. What time is left for us to do something amazing. Whether that’s reading a book, creating a beautiful picture, singing to someone we love, carving a bird, feeding stray animals, saving children, whatever it is, it’s for us to do something that fills us with wonder and happiness.
So many days we worry and fret when we could be finding the surprising gentleness in our fellow human beings. We watch the news and are afraid, instead of turning off the TV and dancing to the radio. We decide that the world is against us and once we’ve made up our mind about that, we get confirmation of just such a thing everywhere we look. It might not be true that the Universe will give you exactly what we think about, but we are more likely to see what we dwell on, and if we sit in a place of resentment and anger, then we will only see the slights and aggravation, anger and dismissals in every interaction we have with others.
We train ourselves to do this, I think. I slide behind the wheel, and suddenly I’m the Alpha Driver and all who dare get in my way deserve nothing less than my complete and utter derision. Except, those same people, were they standing with me at the post office or in line at the grocery store would just be people. I’ve trained myself to be aggressive behind the wheel, which is bad. The good thing, though, is that I can change my way of thinking. I have to want to and I have to work at it, but I can do it.
Back to our fellow creators, those who make things for a living. Everyone of us who works on things we feel passionate about seem to have high highs and low lows. “I’m AWESOME!” one day and “I suck and should burn my shit,” the next. This often gets pushed onto others, as if the person drowning in crippling doubt just can’t take anymore self-directed hatred and has to turn it lose on someone else.
It’s a vicious cycle and it’s sad because there are 6 billion people on this planet and no one creator could ever satisfy them all. Yet people fight and argue and tear each other down because of some perceived threat to their own art.
What does it gain you to be jealous? Nothing. What does it gain you to be supportive? Friendship. Goodwill. Happiness.
What does it gain you to tear someone down? Nothing. What does it gain you to build someone up? Friendship. Goodwill. Happiness.
What does it gain you to make people feel bad? Nothing. What does it gain you to make someone feel good? Friendship. Goodwill. Happiness.
I guess the biggest question you can ask yourself before you post is this: What do I want to do with the short time I have on this planet? Do I want to make people miserable and stay in misery myself or do I want to lift people up and make things a little better in my tiny corner of the universe?
There really isn’t any good excuse to be an asshole. It may make you feel temporarily satisfied but, like the Titanic, it’s bound to carry you to the bottom of a cold, dark ocean. You want to succeed? Help others succeed. You want to win? Learn from those who are winning. Make friends with them, not to try to steal their glory, but to truly make a connection. If you’re constantly losing, you’re probably being a dick. Karma doesn’t like dicks, you know.
We all have struggles. We all have weaknesses. And online, you only get the smallest glimpse into another person’s world, a glimpse they carefully curate. If you base your assumptions on that peek you get through that tiny window, you are a silly person indeed.
I guess I want to say this: give each other a break, give yourself a break. Enjoy the time you have here. It’s hard to remember how fleeting it really is. A great way to remember is to go outside and look up at those stars. Hug a tree and think of the time it took to grow right there. Look into the eyes of an old person and hold a newborn baby. Remember that in a month or a year or five years, whatever it is you’re upset about won’t matter anymore. Remember that it’s more important for you to be happy than rich, that it’s more important for you to love than hate, that it’s more important for you to enjoy the miracle you are than just about anything else in this world.