Monday, July 7, 2014

Practice makes perfect.

Sometimes, I get caught in the trap of thinking that some things are just feelings and emotions. We think often that love is just a feeling. Or that being positive is just an emotion. But I believe love and positivity isn’t a feeling or an emotion; it’s a practice.

It’s something you have to go out there and do. It’s something you have to live. And that isn’t easy.

It actually requires a lot of strength. Why? Because there are a lot of hurt, sad, and angry people in our world right now. And while things like the Internet and social media are great for providing a platform to put your message, it also opens you up to new levels of criticism and judgement.

I am reminded that love, empathy, acceptance, joy.. None of these things are as simple as a feeling or an emotion. They are a practice. A discipline. A muscle you need to keep strengthening.

They are an action you must keep taking; time and time again. It’s not just an intellectual awareness- it’s an action.

Because intellectually, I know that I should have empathy for these people who can be cruel and hurtful. But, sometimes, when it’s two in the morning and you just wanted to fall asleep without being bothered by someone's opinion of you on Twitter, it’s hard to act from a place of compassion and calm.

And that’s because it’s not about knowing. Everyone knows what love is. Everyone knows what empathy is. But not everyone acts from a place of kindness, from a place of joy, from a place of positivity and love.

Because thought is easy. Action is hard. Habit is hard.

And if what I’m talking about right now sounds like a lot of work to you, well.. it’s because it is a lot of work.

And if it wasn’t a lot of work, it wouldn’t be worth it. Because it’s supposed to be a lot of work. It’s supposed to be hard. It supposed to be challenging at times. It’s supposed to be difficult in moments.

Because that is the work. That’s the practice. That’s the discipline.

And the pain that we sometimes feel when we are being called be positive in our lives despite all the negativity that might surround us, that pain has purpose. We need that pain.

We need that resistance. We need to struggle. We need it to be hard work.

Because without it, we would not learn. We would not reflect. We would not evolve. We would not forgive. We would not accept. We would not love.

Like any practice, there are some days this is easy and some days this is hard. Today, for me, it feels easy. It feels effortless. It feels right.

But I know not every day will be this way. I know that there are some days you genuinely feel it and there are some days that you have to be more conscious about staying the course.

Love is a practice. Empathy is a practice. Acceptance is a practice. Positivity is a practice.

And, on the other side of the same coin, the inverse of all those emotions are a practice too; hate, judgement, denial, negativity. Whatever we feel, whatever we think, however we act, all of those are things we are consciously reaching for. We are choosing them. And we have the choice to keep picking it up or to put it back down.

Anyways, at least that’s what I think...

The only thing I really know, is that we have no control over what others choose to practice. We can only control what we choose to practice.

And while some might call a desire for love and for positivity “soft” or “weak”, I think it’s the opposite. Because love requires strengths. And positivity requires a personal commitment; a personal discipline. It takes balls and bravery to walk out in to the world each day and not let yourself get drowned in the pain and the hurt and the confusion. Because you can’t control what anyone else is going to practice.

All you can do is wake up each morning, put a shirt on, and ask yourself: what am I choosing to practice?

And maybe that quest for happiness we are all on has a lot to do with getting to a place in your life where you finally have a good answer to that question. Maybe that’s what this is all about.

Or maybe I’m just a 30 year old, punching plastic keys on a computer and ranting on ablog post about stuff I am no where near smart enough to be talking about.

Maybe it’s all of the above.

Maybe it’s none.

Truthfully, it’s probably somewhere right in the middle.

I don’t have all the answers. Actually, I don’t have any of the answers.

I only get to ask the questions.