Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED Lamb Chop as a child, but that’s because I didn’t realize that Shari Lewis was in charge of her words and her moves. I didn’t know she was a sock puppet. I thought she was real.
And that is the problem for many of us. We are yelling words that don’t belong to us. We are waving our arms and experiencing emotions that we believe are our own.
Long-term relationships with friends and family are getting severed. Our days are interrupted by comments that push our buttons and make us afraid . . . and it is sapping our energy.
Perhaps we start challenging the banner we are picking up with a few questions: .
- I am furious about (insert any public figure or movement).
- What, specifically, is causing me to be furious?
- Have I met this person or heard them speak? What do I know about them?
- Am I absolutely sure that this deserves my anger?
- Can I directly impact any resolution with my words? How am I impacting others with my words?
- Is this energy that I could put into something else today?
There is certainly a lot to get done, and many ways to save this world. But maybe we start by saving ourselves. Perhaps we focus our energy on what we can impact and silence the noise.
I believe most of us want to be good neighbors. We want to be good parents. We want to be good at what we do, and add value to the world. But right now, I’m not sure that we shouldn’t cover our children’s eyes when they read our social media messages. And I’m not sure we would recognize ourselves if we looked back at our own words.
Maybe we’ve gotten so used to having someone pulling our strings and speaking through us, we’ve forgotten what we care about. It is cacophonous out there, so we listen to the loudest voice. And sometimes the loudest is the one who is most self-absorbed, most angry, most narcissistic.
And we let them change our words, and our moods, and our intentions. Their fight becomes our fight.
Perhaps it is time to cut the strings.
Regain our own voice. Think about what we want to leave behind for the kids. Consider how we are role-modeling and who we hope they can become. I’m pretty sure we want them to experience joy, to improve things around them. And I doubt most of us would want to hear children espousing hatred through words or actions. My grandmother used to tell me “if we don’t want our kids doing it, we shouldn’t be doing it ourselves.”
I think if we could take an inward journey by listening only to our own voice for a few days, we would find our hope deflated, our souls tired, and our hearts a little bit broken.
The good news is that we can reenergize by finding our own voice again, by being determined to make this world a better place, by lifting up rather than slamming down. Once the strings are cut, our energy becomes about those we can most impact. We can teach our children that there is more than despair out there. We can remind them that the day still offers miracles, we just have to have the energy to see them.
We can remind them that love is still an option, that laughter is brave, and that hope springs eternal. But to do this, we have to cut the strings and reconnect with our own voice.
Because what the world needs now is our authentic selves.