How much better would it be for us to encourage, support, and love one another? Wouldn't it be better to share our burdens without fear of being gossiped about or fear of being judged as a failure? If we truly considered the feelings and needs of others, if we more carefully chose our words, if we made a point of not being critical, I believe relationships would be strengthened and deepened. I believe that it would better enable us to demonstrate true concern for the well-being of a person or family and to offer advice or correction when necessary in others' lives.
It seems that we often try to build ourselves up by tearing others down. How sad. And I think that the online world makes it all the easier to tear one another down - it's so easy to say something hurtful or uninformed in a blog comment or post, e-mail, or facebook post; something you would never say in person.
We must carefully guard against allowing the online world to take the place of real life relationships and of honest and true communication. While I think that some of the connectedness is a great thing, I'm continually aware that my identity cannot be here. We all, somewhat unknowingly, paint pictures of ourselves which may or may not be completely accurate :) and we tend to form opinions of others based on the same. And sometimes we "know" each other without really knowing each other.
Don't get me wrong, I've been SO blessed by the people I've met through blogging and many I've had the opportunity to meet in real life, too. And maybe I'm just being too judgemental and too harsh on women. :) It has been amazing to connect with other families built through adoption - to share stories and to offer support - something that I don't have much around me. And I don't intend to leave the blog or facebook world any time soon - I do love you all! :) I've learned so much about myself and made many friends. I've been challenged and encouraged. I just need to guard against the critical and judgemental spirit that I too often find popping up in my own life.
All that to say, I've been challenged in my own thinking and life of late to:
- Consider what I say, how I say it, and whether it needs said at all.
- Not always offer advice but rather to give a listening and sympathetic ear.
- Be careful about judging other's situations - especially when I really don't know.
- Deepen the relationships around me.
- Pray for wisdom in loving and relating to others in real life and online.
And now that I've said that, I feel thoroughly overwhelmed. I pray that my life may be changed and my attitude renewed. May I encourage instead of discourage and demonstrate love instead of criticism.
Tough lessons. Good benefits. More love. Less hurt. Stronger friends.
More understanding. Wiser words. Less words.