By: Samantha Bender
Years from now, sociologists will break down our generation into two characteristics:
1. Extremely passionate about world issues
2. Extremely passionate about talking about ourselves
Unfortunately, I think we both know which one of those often takes precedence.
Thanks to Twitter, Facebook, Spotify, and everything in between, every day is universal show and tell…where everyone is trying to share at the exact same time. But we don’t just bring our favorite things to display; we bring our ordinary, our everyday. We bring our review of a new album and pictures of our grilled cheese (in sepia-tone, of course).
Now, part of me is a fan of this over-share. It does, on some level, add a transparency to our lives. The problem comes when we start to investigate the root of why we share. Do we share because we think our opinions/thoughts/favorite songs could benefit others? Sometimes.
Let’s be honest with ourselves: most of the time we share because we want praise or approval or fame. But who cares if we’re all just trying to get someone to pat us on the back? That’s not a big deal, right? Maybe not, but I think that there is another aspect of all of this sharing that may be hindering the “passionate about world issues” half of our generation’s defining qualities:
Complaining. We have unlimited outlets for airing our grievances, and we readily do. Every day I probably vomit about 15-500 complaints just on my own…
I’m tired of hearing “Somebody That I Used to Know”.
Why did Kristin Wiig have to leave SNL?
And I sign on to Twitter and I see that I’m not alone…
“Finals are the death of me. Only 2000 more pages to read #ugh”
“It’s so cold out, why can’t I be somewhere warm? #Jealous”
“All my friends are at the Mumford & Sons concert, but I have to work : ( ” *
*= if this is you, I suggest getting better friends… friends don’t let friends miss a Mumford concert
Has our constant public complaining led us to actually believe that our problems are the end of the world? Now that we have an outlet to express any little thought that jumps into our head, are we slowly losing the filter between what is important and what isn’t? If everything in our lives is worthy of sharing, we suddenly take center stage.
Maybe it’s just me, but have you ever ended a day and realized you spent the entire day thinking about yourself? You tell yourself that you had every right to. Work was hard, your friend is mad at you, you have huge decisions approaching you like an angry swarm of bees. You’re overwhelmed, it’s understandable.
But where does it end? When I think I’m the center of the universe, why do the issues of anyone else matter to me? I use my words to protect me, to tune out anyone else and focus on my own dirt instead of utilizing my abilities and opportunities to help others.
If any of this sounds familiar to you, or if any of it makes you want to tweet this article (“OMG THIS IS TOTES ABOUT ME!!!! #LOLZ!!!”) then I invite you try a little experiment with me.
Try going one day, one hour, without complaining. It doesn’t matter if you’re joking or not actually that upset, just try keeping silent. Or keep a tally- for every complaint you express, say something encouraging, or read an article about what’s happening in the world. Make an intentional step to broaden your view. The more we focus on something, someone, anyone outside ourselves we make a choice to prioritize the things that are actually important, and the things that we truly care about.
I know it sounds a little ridiculous, but if we really believe that small actions can change the world for the better, than we also have to believe that our small negative actions can tear it down.
Today, make a conscience effort to use your voice wisely. Make your words count. #Soundgood?