This post originally taken from my good friend Nickolas Gaines’ blog and I thought it was worth sharing in these trying times.
Over the last two years, I decided to redirect my focus and energy. And in doing so, it has recalibrated and transformed me. My role isn’t to change anyone. I can use my influence to educate, but people are left with the decision in what they believe. Many times with phobias and “isms” people are strongly committed to what they believe based off of their life experiences and presuppositions.
If you are constantly getting upset with family, coworkers, or friends via social media and/or in real life you have to remember that they think and speak that way because they don’t care, don’t have to make certain considerations, or are embedded with privilege that they haven’t actualized or worked through. People have agency over their own lives to think, speak, behave, and feel what they want. And, that, has nothing to do with you. Treating people with dignity and affirming their inherent value is baseline. Basic. If you have people in your life who don’t do that or need constant reminders, you need to examine your circle.
I’m done arguing. I put down my sword and shield. I refuse to argue why people shouldn’t be oppressed. I refuse to argue with people who are committed to their viewpoint. I still speak truth as I see it in my circle of influence. I still call out injustice when someone around me is treated unfairly. But arguments with the intention to prove rightness, educate, or change perspectives isn’t my fight.
Be a good steward of your time, emotional capacity, what influences your thinking, commands your spirit, and your energy. My energy is best used loving myself, cherishing my family, affirming my friends, and being love and light in this world. YOU are the light of the world. If you spend it wrestling with people to get YOUR viewpoint not only do you diminish your light, but you diminish your connection to pure joy, peace, and happiness. Your spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health are most important. If you spend all your time fighting “they” have won. It’s not worth it.
So for review, until this gets in your spirit:
- Self-care is deciding not to engage in conversations in which you have to prove the humanity of someone who shares your identity or experience. If they don’t see the humanity in the person you’re arguing about over social media, they don’t see yours, and won’t see it, God forbid something happens to you.
- It’s a baseline that folks regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic level, ethnicity, religion, or ability level are treated as human beings, all worthy of equality, respect, and love.
- Stop arguing with fools. It’s a waste of your time, energy, and resources.
- Stop arguing with fools. Protect your spaces- physical, emotional, and spiritual.
- Stop arguing with fools. If they’re more focused on proving their “rightness” than focused on listening to you, your experience, and your pain, they obviously don’t value you, your relationship, or the friendship that comes with it.
- Stop arguing with fools. Press delete. Redirect your energy into people and things that bring you joy, make you whole, and increase your love.
Take care of yourself. Make a holistic plan to ensure you sustain yourself. That includes your body, mind, soul, and spirit. On Sunday I’ll be talking about holistic self-care and giving you some ideas on how to make a personal self-care plan.
Let your motivation onward be to “do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
Wisdom is knowing what battles not to fight because peace is more important than winning the battle.
You can read more of Nickolas Gaines’ writings on his website, www.nickolasgaines.com. Nickolas is the Suicide Prevention Program Manager for the Department of Defense, serving over 11,000 Soldiers across 26 states, their family members, and Department of the Army Civilians. He oversees education, training, program implementation, policy development, postvention care, and crisis response.