Finding Magic in the Mess

My Way or the Highway

My Way or the Highway

About a year ago, I experimented with the keto diet to try to pinpoint some blood sugar issues I was having. So of course I joined numerous social media groups full of “experts” to get some ideas and recipes. Time after time, I saw people telling members “That’s not allowed” or “That’s not keto” or “OH MY GOD, you can’t eat that, you IDIOT!”

That last comment is edited to be family friendly, but it was aimed at me. Complete with the eye roll emoji. Because I ate a peach.

One peach.

Now I could go on a big scientific rant about how there really are no off-limit foods on the keto diet or explain my conscious decision to eat something I wanted because I AM AN ADULT, but that isn’t the point of this post.

The point is (or are) that we have GOT to stop demanding that other people conform to our personal agendas. And we have got to stop talking to people like they aren’t people on social media.

Earlier today, a friend posted on Facebook about stocking her house with essentials for her boys. She mentioned buying paper towels, and a friend chimed in about paper plates.

Then the internet blew up because OH MY GOD… THE POOR TREES.

The internet didn’t really blow up, but someone did comment/judge about how they were killing trees and are sorry excuses for conservationists. My friend is a lovely person and answered the critic with her usual loveliness, but it got me so fired up. This woman is one of those people who you meet and immediately know that they are filled with pure goodness. She works numerous jobs to raise three boys alone, she gives back in every way she can, and I could go on forever about her. But she bought some paper products to make life a little easier. So WHAT? I’m all about some dang trees, and I do what I can to reduce my footprint, but don’t touch my paper towels.

We can’t be ALL the things. We can’t do EVERYTHING for the good of something else. It’s exhausting.

I’ve got stories for days, and I’m sure you do too. Unless you’re one of the meanie faces who are bullying people for simply living their lives. Just yesterday, a mom was asking for advice about pediatricians who will not push vaccinating her children. I’m not shy about my pro-vaccination stance, but never in a million years would I take that as an opportunity to try to drag her back on to my side. But of course, in true Facebook fashion, the “my way is better than yours” moms stepped in and tore her apart.

How in the world is it helpful to make someone feel terrible about a decision they have made? Do people honestly think that by tearing someone down, they’ll get them to see their point?Β 

Along with being a health coach, I am a school nurse in a small Title One school. I work with a very diverse group of children, many of whom, due to their socioeconomic status, qualify for free or reduced meals. Imagine if I started pushing a “You should only eat organic and you need essential oils to live and you’re going to kill your kids by washing them with Dial soap” agenda to the families I work with. Many of them can barely afford shoes for their kids, so I’m quite sure a $30 bottle of lavender isn’t a priority. Not only is it not a priority, but suggesting to someone who struggles financially that they should be drinking freshly juiced kale or a $80/month shake is downright offensive.

So how do we help people without being – sorry for the language -but… an A-hole?

PICK ME! PICK ME! I know the answer!

First, you keep your mouth shut and your fingers off the keyboard. Because you’re not helping anyone.

Second, you THINK.

Let’s go to the hallway of the school I work in and take some of the best advice I’ve ever seen off the wall.

Before you speak: THINK.

T: Is it TRUE?

H: Is it HELPFUL?

I: Is it INSPIRING?

N: Is it NECESSARY?

K: Is it KIND?

I’d like to add:

E: Is it EMPATHETIC?

R: Is it RELEVANT?

Y’all it’s that simple. Be a THINKER.

By calling me an idiot, you aren’t getting me to put down my ripe, summer, juicy peach that I dream about all winter. By telling my friend she’s not a conservationist and that she’s just wasting paper, you’re not getting her to stop buying paper towels. By pestering people who have financial issues with the ol’ “one serving is cheaper than going to Starbucks,” you’re not going to get a sale. What you ARE going to do is offend, lose friendships, and make people feel really crappy about themselves.

If you want to attract me to a new way of thinking, lead by example. Educate without patronizing. SHOW me, don’t tell me.

What we teach our first and second graders each day has been forgotten in the adult world. It’s what our parents always told us: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. When was this lost?

Your smartphone is not a shield and user accounts are actually real people. You CAN eat a peach if you want to. You CAN buy paper plates if you want to. But we CANNOT continue to treat people like this.

It’s time we all sit back and deal with the realization that our way just might not always be the right way. So let’s all agree that we will be THINKERS and jump off the highway and take a back road every once in a while.



8 thoughts on “My Way or the Highway”

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  • BRAVO! I have a love/hate relationship with social media because of all the reasons you shared. And now my generation (baby boomers) seems to be the target du jour. It seems we were all brought up to be bigots and disciplined in abusive and violent ways. I so wish people wouldn’t stereotype all baby boomers, all conservatives, all liberals, etc.. But most importantly, people need to realize that self-righteousness looks good on no one. You are not going to change anyone’s mind by blaming and shaming their beliefs and choices on FB; the people who are going to “like” your post are the people who already share your viewpoint. We don’t know the whole story or all the circumstances that shape a person’t perspective. This country is supposed to be based on freedoms – including the freedom to think for yourself – yet many of the groups that claim to be so tolerant of everyone, are tolerant only if your views mirror theirs. Yikes! I will close out now as I feel my blood pressure rising. Please people, stop the judging, blaming, and shaming. Post positivity instead!

  • This entry says so much that’s applicable to life in general. An objective view that’s a reminder of how courtesy and good manners toward others is often, and sometimes unknowingly, forgotten or ignored. It is with this attitude and way of thinking that we can rebuild the divide that sometimes feels insurmountable in many aspects of life in our country today. We have work to do. This is the most effective way to do it. Thanks Ms Lesthanperfect!! You nailed it. πŸ‘ŒπŸ’•

    • We have SO much work to do. But the good news is that it’s EASY. The work is simple and EASY. We just have to show others how easy it is.

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