Sound bites are about worthless. Not just the news sound bite of the latest political gaff (not linking). And actually, what I want to talk about usually doesn’t have sound. Sound bite is maybe the wrong word then. Meme might be the right word, but taking a screen cap (or someone else’s screen cap) and putting words in ALL CAP Impact font does not make it a meme. In fact, calling them memes is probably a disservice to the word itself. Let’s call them photo chips then.
If you use social media, I am sure you have run across them (or are tripping over them daily, depending on your friend selection). Motivational ecards of Snoopy (TM Peanuts Worldwide LLC, 1996 used without permission) hugging a heart, with some short blurb about how you.are.special.and.no.one.should.ever.tell.you.anything.bad.about.you.because.if.they.do.they.are.not.really.your.friend.and.dont.have.true.love.for.yourself.so.love.yourself.just.the.way.you.are.and.dont.let.anyone.change.you.EVER..
Ok, so I shouldn’t write for greeting cards. But you know what I am talking about. What if I am a jerk? I shouldn’t listen to people who criticize me, right? I “shouldn’t have to change for anyone” (one that I have seen many times), so I can go right on being a misogynistic, racist crabapple.
“No, those aren’t the people I meant.” I can hear the posters of such drivel say. Sure, but you didn’t specify in your picture of fuzzy Care Bears that it only applied to perfect pretty princesses(BTW, nobody is perfect, and whose definition of pretty? And princess? Who is being the misogynist now, with your stereotypical gender roles?).
On the other side of the aisle, the news media, advertisements, and pop culture are screaming the opposite. You need to make more money. You deserve a better partner. You are too fat. You are not happy enough (take this pill).
Truth is (in the eye of the…wait, wrong post).
Truth is that what you really mean to say is longer and more complicated than what would fit on a postcard, or small image (you were going to call them photo chips). Oh, right, photo chips. We, all of us, should be striving for a goal in our lives. Something to make us better. Mr. Rodgers was for 5 year olds, who need some self-confidence, and to be told they are special just the way they are (especially before they trudge off to our educational system and the grinding down of self-worth that happens…stay on target…stay on target). But we are adults (wait, you in the front row, how did you sneak in here? SECURITY!). Ahem, sorry about that. As I was saying, we are adults, and we realize (or should) that there are mistakes we make, and bad habits we form, and a whole host of neuroses we each have cultivated. Each of us should seek ways to overcome these, make ourselves a better self.
I understand the heart behind these post, for all the fun I am poking at them. While I believe we should seek critique by our friends and seek personal behavioral improvement, we don’t need people around us making us feel bad. If someone is making you feel bad for who you are and doing it for their own amusement, or to make themselves feel better, those are the kind of people to cut out of your life. As for changing for someone, if you love someone, changing for them can be a very rewarding experience. But it should not be a forced change, such as someone telling you ‘this must change, or X will happen’ or some other form of psychological abuse.
Technology, such as social media, has led to a greater ability for people to communicate. People that are separated from others they know by distance can keep in regular contact, and with the sharing of pictures and video, new forms of communication are possible and can help those who might have felt isolated for their differences find a community that is supportive. So, while this post is supposed to be about the best life lesson I have learned, it is also a plea. That we communicate in a meaningful way. Perhaps, as technology evolves, we will find ways to layer meaning into a still image or short GIF that can convey the sentiment we wish to impart, but for now, they are good for laughs.
The best lesson life lesson I learned?