Most women I interact with will admit they’ve experienced competition moreso than cooperation, have felt the sting of criticism more than the warmth of compassion, and run around with far more condemnations murmuring in their minds than compliments.
This post takes a peek at something that occurred last week in the blogoshere and on national television that has me asking this question:
What more can we do so that we feel honored by ourselves and each other? So that we know the bliss of cooperation, the beauty of compliments, and the glory of compassion—from ourselves and from one another?
First I wanna offer how I became intertwined in the discussion thread about a missed opportunity when several successful bloggers who are mothers were interviewed and then aired on MSNBC’s Today Show.
Next I wanna offer my perspective on the whole shebang.
Finally I’ll offer the example of Mary Baker Eddy that pulls me up from my bootstraps day in/day out for the achievements she mastered more than a century ago.
First the background.
Daily I read from several blogs and comment on them.
Last week, I became intertwined in a pretty large discussion over the blogosphere:
First, I read this post from a site i read regularly, bitchphd.com.
—a statement of support defending the nature of content a lot of mothers blog about.
I liked what I read and did what I typically do, I commented and moved on to read other posts in my RSS Feed Reader (I use NetNewsWire for blogs and NewsFire for news feeds).
But I didn’t get too far. Her piece made me really pause and think about the value of the contributions of moms or any blogger, about the validity of self expression, about how women writers are surely helping pave the way for women globally to experience more freedoms. I could go on and on.
The point here: I started percolating my own perspective on what I’d read…typical of anyone who is actively blogging and commenting. I wondered what I could offer–if anything new–to the discussion.
So rather than move on to my next feeds, I googled who she referenced—Heather Armstrong—and her blog ‘Dooce.com” and read this piece she offers to celebrate an anniversary of writing about her daughter.
I was moved and felt a connection with a life…a mother’s…and a daughter’s. And was just about to send a comment when my good friend blogger –Elizabeth at table4Five.com — instant messaged me about something and I asked her if she knew of this blog.
Not only did she know of it, she told me further of her own perspective on the interview of several mom bloggers including Heather and that I should watch the video about it and tune into the discussion threads (this means basically see who’s saying what on blogs about a common topic).
She gave me a link to a piece about the whole interview experience by one of the mom’s interviewed—a woman named Mir who blogs regularly at WouldaCouldaShoulda.
So I read Mir’s piece on blogher.com.
And I read the comments Mir refers to in her piece.
And then I even googled and read the excerpts of all the other women bloggers who were interviewed:
Jill Asher at svmoms.com and motherhooduncensored.com.
So you get the gist…how reading one blog and talking about it with another blogger sends you all over the blogosphere to find others who are discussing a similar topic.
And with this Today Show interview, it was clear: most bloggers I read all felt the interview dropped the ball….bigtime.
And so I began thinking further. Like why was any of this bothering me too?
On one level I felt compassion—kudos to any and all that spend so much of their lives offering their perspective of what’s working for them and then blog about it. And more kudos to the honest portrayal of lives. It builds connection and community and brings us all that much closer.
On another level I felt anger. How in the world is it possible that women in broadcast media can fail to emphasize the goods of the women bloggers in a nationally televised interview? Why were the substance of their efforts relegated to simply inquiries about privacy issues and other negative slants?
But I know me. Anger doesn’t get me anywhere.
So I thought about a favorite author—Mary Baker Eddy–whose every endeavor it seems was in taking a stand for authentic communication that mattered. She spent the better part of 40 years editing one text, Science and Health and because of her life achievements was dubbed by the National Association of Women Writers as among women “whose words have changed the world.”
And because she was so intensely aware of the need for objective reporting in the media, she didn’t just contribute articles to a local newspaper. She created one, an international daily in fact, the Christian Science Monitor—at a time when she felt objective reporting was vital to leaven the quality of content in the media. And to this day the Monitor still lives and breathes her original intent for it’s purpose “to injure no man and to bless all mankind.”
Okay…so here I was feeling compassion about the women who blog, a bit of miff-dom toward the interviewers, and then I’m reminded of Eddy’s example…
And so it made me pause and think and pray.
It’s not enough to just dwell—to me—on what was missing from the interview. That’s been discussed enough. And you can surely read about it doing your own google searches.
What I wish to offer is my perspective on lessons I’ve discerned in thinking and rethinking all of these conversations through.
All of these discussion threads make me ask the questions:
Why wasn’t there a greater celebration of achievements?
And more to the point: what am I doing with my own life to honor examples of success I come in touch with?
To me, the real learning I’m doing in sifting through all this stuff is asking those questions.
As a new blogger, I would have loved to ask these women about their successes and more. I would have asked them what started them blogging, what keeps them going, and how they would define the impact of their blogging on their own lives and on the lives of their readers. Heck, I may have even asked how their blogging is –to them—helping to evolve human rights as they further the right of each one of us to take a stand for our voices.
But it wasn’t long ago when I might have been a bit jealous of their achievements or worse, a bit more dumping on myself that I haven’t gotten further along in my own writings.
Think about it. When you see someone who is successful–whether in appearance, in their career, in their health/physique, in their relationships, what is your first thought?
Do you judge them negatively? Are you suspicious, critical, or apathetic? Do you inwardly cave and wonder what the heck is wrong with you? Or do you acknowledge achievements and applaud their efforts?
I would like to think we each and all celebrate one another’s successes.
We share a commonness with all others that each one of us is on a journey. And someone’s successes — in whatever way– should be encouragement to each one of us that breaking through limitations is possible, doable, and proveable…on any scale, in any circumstance.
As I’m honest with myself, while I know this is my goal, it is not all the time where my thoughts first go.
Me being completely honest, when I see a woman—be it a mom, a peer, a woman senior to me….in whatever capacity that person is successful….I tend to wonder first things like: “How did she get there? What is she doing right?” Part suspicion, part genuine, sometimes jealousy, often my inner wonder. But I’m a far cry from fully embracing and honoring. I need to do better. I want to do better.
Sometimes I think I know. I say to myself: “Well she’s mastered thought by thought living and maintains peace and can hear her goals and not the muck of self condemnation, carves out a path for herself and just goes nuts. You could be there but aren’t b/c you’re too caught up in feeling incapable yourself. ”
Other times I just pause and think “I wanna be more like that” ( a type of criticism) or “how come I’m not there yet?” (a type of complaining) or worse, dumping on myself (a type of condemnation).
My point here: until we can look out at anyone’s successes and objectively celebrate their victories, we may fall into the trap of criticism, complaining or condemnation (which may have been what happened to those who interviewed the bloggers).
So for me…as I’m thinking broadly about this topic–how to celebrate one another’s successes–how to learn from them and more how to celebrate my own and honestly assess what needs improving, I’m remembering this simple but oh so vitally important commandment: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.’
Well, think about it. If you are striving to see yourself spiritually, as inherently good, than why would you settle for anything less when viewing ‘your neighbor’ even if that person is someone you’ve never met…even if that person is succeeding at his/her endeavor that you may not understand at all, why would you NOT ‘love him/her’ or rather see that individual wholely and purely?
We all have weaknesses. We all have those choices we made that we wished we hadn’t. We can all craft a laundry list of things we wanna be doing better. And everyone who’s achieved success in whatever way also has a laundry list that to him/her he/she could be doing better.
So why then–when we see someone who’s successful in whatever way–can’t we sit back and honor and celebrate it, compliment it, and even ask where/when appropriate for some help and guidance along the way?
What was lost from that interview can be found in our day to day: Each one of us can value the successes of another individual we admire while also honoring our own. We can learn from one another, honestly and gently self assess, and push ourselves to grow.
None of those mommy bloggers got where they are by believing that they would fail. None of them achieved readerships by writing about boring content and gossip. All of them got where they are because they were true to their innermost desire to give voice to their hearts. And they’ve helped several bloggers along the way.
And in the long run those examples are what to me will move society forward: people who succeed who are willing to cooperatively share what they’ve learned, compassionately offer help, and compliment others’ successes along the way.
All of us can right now think of 2 or 3 people who inspire us…and we can pick up the phone and / or shoot them an email and just ASK: hey, what’s making this work so well for you?
My friend Elizabeth at table4five.com has taught me so much about blogging. So have a bunch of writers I know over at spirit-on-the-job-dot-com (spotj.com) and still others at blogher.com. But I know I haven’t told them enough. Note to self: tell them!!!
To me it’s that simple. And what’s more, that person will know and feel that their efforts are appreciated.
Mary Baker Eddy writes this: “The good in human affection must have ascendency over the evil and the spiritual over the animal, or happiness will never be won. The attainment of this celestial condition would improve our progeny, diminish crime, and give higher aims to ambition.” (Science and Health, p. 61:4).
Cooperation, compliments, and compassion go such a long way. To me, those are the real lessons to learn from and live by.
What do you think?
Leave your comments or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be well and enjoy your journey thought by thought…..they matter much! Tre ~