Let It Flow

Turn and face the change.

All of us are an influence. We all leave footprints. Every environment we enter into becomes altered by our mere existence. This can never change. The only thing we can change is whether the influence we have is positive or negative.

Those like me with a behavioral diagnosis can be particularly vulnerable to outside influences. Bullies at school for some reason get a say in how much self-esteem we have. Manipulative people who make us happy end up controlling our behavior. Even wholesome things can become obsessions if we fail to recognize their influence on us.

I try to not be controlling. When I was younger I was frustrated with the way people treated me. I’d try to fix the problem any way I could. It started with just trying to talk to people. When things began to look hopeless it lead to using guilt and eventually fists. A need to fix my problems became a problem.

I realize now there is a flow to life. Every person has their way of doing things. It would be nice if more good things would flow in the direction I want, but I won’t force them to. I respect the flow. If I try to fight the current I could potentially get caught in it and the waves would eventually crash over me.

The relationships I have now consist of people who naturally gravitate toward me. I didn’t have to win them over. They see me for who I am and they like what they see. I don’t try to control them and they give me the same courtesy. That respect ends up creating more positive change than anything else.

Anyone who seeks to influence me with negativity is going to be disappointed. Manipulations, peer pressure, and threats are going to wash past me. I’ll meet their force with calm resistance. The only one who will have say in how I conduct my life is going to be me. No behavioral diagnosis is going to give anyone permission to tell me what to do. My mind remains immovable.

What the World Needs Now

The body needs sustenance to digest and the brain needs ideas to process. What does the heart need?

Each of us seeks out the things that make us happy. What makes one person happy won’t be good enough for another, but we all seek the good things of life. The trick is finding an unending source of happiness.

The people we meet can potentially provide for our social nourishment. We look to others for comfort, help, and affection. If we are lucky, then we may find people who enjoy the responsibility of caring for others.

The Needy

Many people claim being happy is a decision. They will say feeling sad is just feeling sorry for yourself. That is easy to say for those who aren’t suffering.

People fail to recognize the difference between happiness and having a positive attitude. I will grant that we have the power to choose our own attitudes. Even when I am at my lowest I can see the good in whatever circumstance I am in. On the other hand, happiness needs to come from a real place. Happiness is a fire that needs to be stoked. The question is what we should use for fuel.

Here are two kinds of positivity we can offer:

1. Respect

Respect is the most basic form of positivity we can give to others. It is a general acknowledgment that other people deserve to be treated fairly and kindly. Everyone deserves respect.

I can list many things I don’t like. I remember all the people who have hurt me, friend and foe. Still, I wish them no ill will. I respect them. I want them to earn happiness for themselves. How cruel it would be for me to think some people are not justified in being happy!

Enough negativity exists in this world without me adding to it. Showing disrespect does not improve anything. I would rather be gracious to all than waste my days wishing more negativity on others.

2. Honor

Honor is a higher quality of respect. It is a special regard for those that stand out to us. Not everyone deserves to be honored.

Back home in Washington I had a small group of friends. One day, I came to visit one of them at their house. They had a group of their friends gathered in the living room. I wanted to play for them a piece of piano music I had been practicing for a class. I was only a few notes in when they went right back to talking to each other. They talked all throughout my playing.

I’ve made new friends since coming to Idaho. I was at my best friend’s apartment once and decided to sing to everyone there. They all stopped what they were doing and gave me their full attention as I sang a good number of songs for them. They even complimented me afterwards on how well I sang. What did I do to deserve such great friends?

We honor what we feel deserves our time and attention the most. Making people feel special requires us to lift them a little higher than we would others. Not everyone can earn first place. I have to decide which of my friends I will spend the majority of my time with and who I will see the least. Exclusion defines honor. It isn’t an honor to receive what everyone else has.

Malnourished

The heart suffers when it does not receive the necessary positivity. We become starved when the people we turn to are barren of respect and honor for us. No amount of positive attitude can make up for an absence of positive reinforcement.

Not just any positivity will be enough to sustain an individual. It takes the right kind. I respect any attempt from someone to brighten my day, but effort alone saves no soul. If you want to reach out to someone, then you need to do it in a way that will resonate with them. “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?” (Luke 11:11)

It feels weird asking for respect and honor. We know what makes us happy, but it’s difficult when what we want depends on what other people are willing to give. People can be stingy on showing the smallest degree of respect. Even I am admittedly turned off by people coming to me desperate for friendship, attention, or recognition. However, I never turn my back on someone honestly seeking more good in their lives. I do what I can for them.

I never think about whether someone deserves respect or not. People need to be respected. And I take time to honor those I feel have worked a little harder and deserve a little recognition. The world becomes a better place for everyone when everyone is striving to make each other happy. I never look down on those who are brokenhearted. Instead, I strive to give them something to smile about.

Antisocial Media

Confession time. I hardly read other people’s blogs.

I know it’s hypocritical. Here I am trying to reach out to people when I do not let people reach out to me. There are many good writers out there, I’m sure. The reason I don’t read them is because I fear commitment. Seriously.

My first experience contributing to the internet began on mystmovie.com back when it was still in operation. My brother told me I needed to support their website by commenting instead of just “lurking” on the site. My first comment actually received praise from other people. They said it was very well written. That’s when I caught the bug. I wanted to create comments that interested people. Now and then I would even get responses in the comments feed from those who created the site. The site was eventually taken down due to some pretty sad circumstances. I took the time to write a Facebook message to one of the site’s operators telling him thanks for everything he did. He replied back a year later saying thanks for the wonderful message.

I initially created a Facebook account only because there was a beautiful woman I wanted to be friends with. I created a YouTube account only because I wanted to reply to a Rhett & Link video asking to come up with a name for a restaurant/hair salon (I think I came up with Hair Today, Scone Tomorrow). I created a Twitter account only because I wanted to get my questions answered live on AMC Movie Talk. What’s the connection between these? Connection.

Content is about people. There’s no point in writing, recording or designing for the internet if there isn’t an intended audience. Coming up with good content is all about having good people skills. Gaining a fan or subscriber is like starting a relationship. Give them good content frequently and they will love you forever.

Here are a few tips for those wishing to connect through social media:

1. Devour Content

All content on the internet is created by someone. The more you read, the closer you get to other people. Do you take time to read your friend’s posts on Facebook? Do you take mental note of what they “like” and share? The more interest you show for other people’s content, the better your understanding will be of what engages your audience.

2. Create Content

You owe it to the world to do something. Just existing is not enough. What’s the point of having clay to work with if you don’t mold it? The internet was made to be used. Why wouldn’t you want to make a contribution? Leave an impression online. Voice your opinions. Create things no one has ever seen before. Record dumb videos of yourself just for the fun of it.

Don’t tell yourself that there is nothing good enough for you to make. Your friends would never say that about you. They are just glad to hear your voice. The internet is the same. Connect with people by giving them something to connect with.

3. Guide Your Content

The people who go the farthest are the ones who made success their goal. No one simply ends up successful. It pays to be ambitious when planning for greatness. Have an idea in your mind of what you want your content to accomplish over time. Think about the impact you wish to make on your audience.

Don’t be afraid to break up your plan into phases. You don’t have to do everything all at once. It’s just like relationships. We have an idea in our minds of where we want them to go and at what speed. You can’t move forward in a relationship if you don’t think about where you want to be and when.

4. Be Respectful

It is a privilege to have a listening ear. I’ve had readers from Brazil, Sweden and Saudi Arabia. I don’t deserve their attention if I don’t respect them. Internet etiquette is lacking in the comments sections I read on YouTube. If people wanted to vent, then they should do so to people who actually care about their opinions. Making people feel bad over the internet should not be our goal.

Improvement is more likely when it stems from positivity. You can always make your content higher quality and more positive without sacrificing your opinions or standards. Any fool can simply not like stuff. Positive content will make a difference in the long run.

Contentment

I’m still slowly integrating into the digital age. I grew up using a phone with a face you had to spin to call anyone. It was a big deal when we finally upgraded to pressing buttons. I’ll wait a little while before I upgrade to a smartphone.

I’m trying to be more social online. The internet is useless to you if you don’t desire to connect with real people. Information alone adds up to nothing. The same fears that keep me from opening up to the people around me are the same fears keeping me from taking advantage of the internet. My goal now is to provide online content that resonates with a wide audience. Putting a smile on a few readers’ faces is enough to make me content.