I can spend literally hours on social media. According to my Quality Time app (something you can download to make yourself feel like shit), I spent on average about 6-7 hours staring at my screen… and I’ll be real. A lot of that time is taken up by social media, in particular Facebook. I don’t often post things, but I’m always deeply interested by what other people post. I’ve done stints in the past where I’ve decided to rid myself of Facebook to better my life, but usually I replace it with something else… instagram, snapchat, twitter. Last week someone commented to me on a tweet they had made that was quite funny. I recalled reading it at the time and I told him I saw it, thought about responding but that I use twitter to stalk, not tweet. I said it so flippantly too, like it was a natural part of the world. I’m just cool enough to have a twitter and a little too cool to actually tweet. Stupid.
Anyway, while scrolling mindlessly through Facebook statuses about sports, parenting, food, cars, celebrity pregnancies and whatever else other people happened to like, I came across a blogpost that struck quite a chord for me. It was basically about using a kinder voice. Her opening story really captured me because I felt like she was me. Anyone who knows me really well, and possibly those who live next door to me, know that I’m a rage-machine. I yell pretty loud and my family generally cop it. It was part of how we did things growing up: be upset by something, passive aggressively “communicate” this, yell because no one has noticed (despite throwing every individual spoon rigorously into the sink), and then throw something. Sometimes we just skip to the throwing part. There have been times I’ve been flooded with overwhelm, stress and anxiety that I’ve yelled so loudly and so sharply that my child has instantly burst into tears. Immediately she’d run to her dad for comfort because at that moment he is safe, mama is not.
I’ve never really liked children. I’ve always found them pretty annoying. But more and more I’m noticing the amazing capacity children have for love. My child is forgiving. When I’m upset and crying, she comes toddling up to me with a tissue in her hand and she gently strokes my face. There’s no judgment, no expectation to have it all together, just a hope that I’ll be patient with her, share empathy with her during her stage of learning and developing, and speak with kindness. Toddlers ooze so much love and they give it so freely in abundance. They also ooze throwing things at you, slapping your face, wiping their snot on your everything… but alas that’s not what this is about.
Today matters more than yesterday.
After reading that post, I actually went and downloaded the suggest book read to my kindle. It’s now one of about 10 different reads I’m part way through. Kindle even tells me what percentage of the way through I am. Most of them sit under 10%. I like to start and not finish. This one though, takes the pressure off a little. It’s less about getting through an entire read and more about taking something away from the smaller segments. I like that. But it’s not like some daily devotional, it’s seasonal… as you need to.
I imagine all this reading may take some reflection and I’m using this forum to voice a declaration from those reflections. Here’s todays one:
I’m making an effort to use a kinder tone of voice. I may need your gentle reminders.
Maybe the next one will be another year away… maybe it’ll be tomorrow.