Words Matter in the Negative & Positive

Many of us pick up our phones as one of the first things we do when we wake up. I’m guilty as charged. I do it all the time, and I know I shouldn’t. So, this morning I picked up the phone and doom-scrolled through the news. For some reason, it bothered me more than it usually does. Words matter, and I spend my days immersed in them in one way or another, and today, the stories I read were hostel.

The irony was that although I felt bothered, it wasn’t any worse than it’s been in years— more doom-scrolling about the pandemic that doesn’t end and political venom.

There was also an article about an actor offended by a review. The reviewer was now dealing with the wrath of social media. I read the review, and I read his response. Sure, his words in his piece weren’t glowing, and the actor has every right to respond. But the hate on social media and the prospective loss of his job was a bit much. Unfortunately, it always is these days.

It’s just another day in “paradise,” I suppose. But today, it annoyed me. Where have we come to where all of this shouting, hate, shaming, and drama is acceptable?

Finding the Positive in the Negative of Words

As much as I have a love/hate relationship with news and social media, I still read articles and use social. As is the case for many, social media is a way to keep in touch with friends and family, especially during this great pause because of the pandemic. Still, I sometimes speak up on issues that align with my values, but overall, I think social could be so toxic that I have to make it a point to seek the positive from it continually.

As we know, every negative has a positive. That’s just the way it is in life. It’s on us to make a decision even in the face of a pandemic or whatever our challenges to dig deep and find something positive in our circumstances. For me, one of the things I do on social is to participate in groups related to things I enjoy. For instance, I’m a member of a group that shares photos of old New York. Actually, I’m a member of several of those groups because I love New York. It’s my home. But I’m also a member of groups related to supporting women.

Sharing the Words About Our Reality

Once I finished with my news doom-scrolling, I went on social, and up popped a familiar woman in a group supporting women. She’s had a tough time of it as she battles cancer and posts as often as she can with her words of wisdom, courage, or simply tiredness of it all. In other words, she speaks her truth. In this particular group, she’s got many supporters—including me, who usually comment.

Although her beautiful silver mane, which she lost because of chemo, was growing back to compliment her fierce blue eyes and returned to work, she admitted trouble taking her own inspirational advice to stay positive. She shared that she feels she has PTSD. And although moving forward, she shared she’s tired. We all get there from time to time, but to the point that words matter, there was something that caught my attention as I’ve followed her progress.

We Get Up—That’s What We Do

She got back on her feet, determined to keep going when a male friend of hers asked what she would do to make things better. It was a simple as that. And she wrote, “When we fall we get up. I put on extra makeup…gel in my hair …lipstick under my mask…cashmere under my t-shirt….that’s what we do …we make lemonade out of lemons and we put in the work to be vibrant and best we can be. Life is a gift xoxo chemo in the morning xoxoxox.” The words, “That’s what we do,” resonated with me. So simple, and so true. Yes, that is what we do. It’s baked into who we are as humans. We move on. Her words shifted my thoughts from the negative of what I had been reading—doom news noise—to the humanity we share.

My reply to her in our social group was the following, “We get up. That’s what we do. Even when it’s impossibly hard and we’re sick of it. No one could do that lift but each of us. Sit on the floor for grounding. Then stand. Stay there for a moment and feel the solidness of the ground you walk on and then put one foot in front of the other and move.”

It’s amazing how words from people whom we never met could resonate and have meaning to us—words matter—and sometimes they greet us as we get out of bed. So, we get up. That’s what we do. We move on.

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