Here’s the point

A critical driver of innovation is the capacity to disagree, debate passionately, and explore all sides of an issue without losing respect. -Nate Regier, PhD

I have tiptoed hesitantly into social media over the years. I have accounts at the big four… Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

I’m most active on Facebook and Instagram. My Pinterest is okay. My Twitter is embarrassing, honestly. I just can’t seem to master brevity. Imagine that.

Even on those platforms that I use most frequently I struggle. I know I could do better if I really dug in and applied myself. Between painful introversion and a strong aversion to shameless self-promotion I just can’t, guys.

And the internet is smart. People know who has it figured out and whose heart just isn’t really in it, and they follow accordingly.

Yet every now and then someone manages to stumble upon one of my humble little pages and they inspire me, and I am so, so, so grateful for you guys! I really am! And not just because you’re paying attention and you give me my Sally Field winning an Oscar moment… “You like me. You really like me!”

(Or, in some cases you hate me, and that’s okay, too, and is the nature of the beast that is The Internet.)

But also because you give me things to talk about. Like this…

A few days ago, six, to be exact, I shared a story on my Facebook page with the headline: “Meryl Streep slams the term ‘toxic masculinity.’ Does she have a point?”

To which someone posted the comment: “She has no point at all.”

This comment inspired not one, but two blog posts (the second, on the ‘f’ word, is forthcoming). Because it made me think, which is what I hope my pages do for people. I want dialogue. I want discourse. I am not afraid of conflict and conversation.

So…

You may think this is just a troll comment. Well, perhaps, except that my little page is not popular enough to have trolls. (I wish!) So no. I don’t think that is the case in this particular instance.

This is someone with a strong opinion. And at Redefined Love, we respect strong opinions, and we listen to more than just the words. We listen to the history of a person.

We have a right to disagree. We have a right to express our own opinions. We have a right to set boundaries. We do not, however, have a right to attack other people for their strong opinions.

Famed vulnerability researcher Brené Brown has a phrase that I love. She says, “The story I’m telling myself…” I use this phrase to replace the word “assume,” because I’ve always hated the phrase “When you assume you make an ass out of ‘u’ and ‘me.’”

Assumption is human nature. I mean, I get the point… We shouldn’t jump to conclusions. But we also have to make sense of reality, or we’d go bonkers.

Here’s the story I’m telling myself about the woman who posted this comment, based on very limited information:

She’s an older, retired Caucasian woman from a conservative background who loves her husband very much. She doesn’t like the naughty words Meryl Streep used in the article and doesn’t agree with much of anything Meryl Streep says. She is a no-nonsense lady from a certain generation that does not mince words.

All of this is okay.

Let me say that again, for those in the back. All of this is okay. Because I don’t think that gets said enough. I’m not angry at this lady. In fact, I’m grateful. I value her opinion. I value her place on the planet.

Obviously, we disagree on whether or not Meryl Streep has anything of value to say. I wouldn’t have shared an article about Ms. Streep if I had thought she had no point.

I’m guessing the commenter has children and grandchildren who love her. In the very least, she’s got a husband who does. She’s made a positive impact in this world and that needs to be respected. If we can’t learn to appreciate those with different opinions than our own, then we are going to continue to spin in this ugly cycle of chaos that we are currently stuck in until we self-destruct.

But here’s the thing…

This comment is wrong for the very same reason that I’d be wrong to dismiss this lady as a valid person because I disagree with her. Meryl Streep has just as much right to her opinion as this commenter does, as do I.

Meryl Streep also has a husband who loves her; children, family, friends who adore her, and she’s made a positive impact on their lives as well.

These are two women who are probably about the same age, and they probably disagree on just about everything. But I bet their husbands adore them both by equal measure. I bet their husbands would grieve if they lost them. And right there, that’s all that matters. Two lives made better by their existence.

So you see… Meryl Streep does have a point. She has, in the very least, the same point as the commenter.

And if we could put aside our differences for just a second, take a deep breath, and look into the eyes of another human being… We would not say such hurtful, dismissive things.

I typically choose not to use profanity on my website, and thus had second thoughts about sharing that article about Meryl Streep. But ultimately, I chose to post it because regardless of the language Ms. Streep used, it doesn’t invalidate her message that I thought was valuable, and in keeping with the message of Redefining Love.

We don’t have to agree with everything a person says or does in order to appreciate their contribution to the world.

If I only learned from people I agreed with 100 percent of the time, I’d never learn anything at all.

I know I’m not always right. I’m not afraid to be disagreed with and corrected. I don’t think any less of Ms. Streep for using profanity to make her point, and I don’t think any less of the commenter for not liking Meryl Streep.

But another major step in Redefining Love is setting boundaries. And when someone says something hurtful on one of my platforms, it would not be very redefined love of me to ignore it.

It is unkind to say that someone does not have a point.

Everyone has a point, even if we disagree with them. Commenter, I love you, I love you, I love you. You have a beautiful, glorious purpose in this life. Keep making an impact on the special people in your life.

I have no doubt whatsoever that Meryl Streep will continue to do the same.

Related Links:

How do I Redefine Love?
Dealing with Anger
Speak the Language
20 Permissions
Boundary Basics
Toxic Relationships
Big Picture
Lovex3

published June 10, 2019

Copyright © Redefining Love 2018

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