The Worst Advice That Everybody Follows In 2019
The “just do you” advice is wrong
“Don’t you ever forget how PRIVILEGED you are.”
That was the cherry on top of an email I got sent a few days ago. It was an angry one from my estimation. As I read it line by line on a Saturday evening I felt worse and worse.
He basically trashed my style of writing, calling it meaningless, and trashed a lot of my friends who write similar stuff. It took him all of 3 paragraphs to do considerable damage, and it left me feeling incredibly angry.
I was about to answer back with something quippy (I can do that sometimes), but I decided to spend 15 minutes writing this guy a 10 paragraph response about my life and who I am.
I don’t know why.
I empathized with him. I told him I saw his point. I wanted to give him my point, too, so that maybe he didn’t have to see me as an enemy. I couldn’t believe I actually responded back with kindness — a lot of it — and it made my day much better.
I went upstairs, got a shower, and hoped for a speedy response from him.
I got it a few days after, and I must say it was very long, very kind, and he showed me who he was, too.
“Tom, you just shouldn’t give a **** what people think.”
I hear that advice a lot nowadays. Everybody loves the “do you” advice. It’s basically a bulletproof vest that exonerates you from anything anybody ever says to you.
Why should we actually not give a damn what anybody says? I have no idea.
If I did that with the gentleman who sent me that email, I may not have even seen his email as something worth responding to.
But I did respond. I had a heart-to-heart with a stranger. It positively impacted me and it positively impacted him.
What about when somebody has a point? What about when somebody legitimately points our your flaws? Should we just turn a blind eye and say “Nope! I’m gonna do me because that’s what everyone tells me to do.”
That’s no way to grow. This is really annoying advice actually.
I have a solution to this madness.
Respond Because People Are Hurting
The man who sent me that email was hurting. I could tell he was hurting. There was too much disgust and anger in his words and I didn’t do myself any favors with the subject line of the blast email I sent him and the rest of my list.
When someone in your own life criticizes or spreads negativity about you, I wouldn’t necessarily blame you for cutting them out of your life.
But if you can see a level deeper than the surface, you’ll realize they’re hurting. They may be jealous. You may have hurt them.
You have the chance as a blogger, a friend, or maybe even a stranger to turn a sour attitude into a positive one. If you asked me, when someone slights you, the universe is actually pointing you in the right direction of a life you can impact.
Why not spend 5 minutes and impact it?
We Actually Do Need To Give A Rip
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
– Dr. Seuss
Mr. Seuss: I love you, but I disagree. I may have even shared this quote on my Facebook page a few times in the past, but now I realize it might be garbage.
First off, why do those who mind not matter? What if “who I am” is an arrogant jerk? Should I still “be who I am and say what I feel,” Seuss?
This quote may be assuming you’re kind and don’t mean to harm anyone, but kind people still make mistakes, too.
Criticism points out our flaws.. are we just going to ignore this criticism? That’s a surefire way to stagnation as an individual, and I vehemently disagree that we should just “not give a ****” what people think.
We need to give a lot of those four-letter-words. Especially on the internet, where people are braver and state their honest opinion more often. We may never be shown our own faults so clearly again.
Before You Shun The Haters...
The “do you” advice, to me, is indicative of a culture where the “I” reigns supreme. It has made us less empathetic, less tolerant, and it’s also dehumanized our detractors.
Maybe our detractors are right.
Maybe we need to take off the bulletproof vest that is the “just do you” advice. No, we shouldn’t just “do you.”
We should listen to other people — even our most adamant haters — because they’re probably going through something themselves and may have a point hidden beneath all the anger.
Get a few free writing tips from me here.