I rarely, if ever (usually never), post a picture or meme that would cast me in a negative and degrading light, nor attack my worth as a person. Sounds a little harsh, until you realize that your News Feed is brimming over with Put-Downs!
—This is me making my way through life at the moment: enter a video of a kid hitting his head on both sides of a playground slide as he makes his way down.
—My dating life in a one picture: filter-heavy picture of a person sitting down, wrapping one arm affectionately around a beer staring at a starry night.
—First week after my paycheck—lobster on a plate. Second week—Ice water soup in a bowl.
Nicely done! 30 seconds and a few swipes later and we’ve already established (jokingly, because that makes everything alright *wink*) your friends suck at life, are extremely lonely and meeting little success in the dating world, and have zero self-control when it comes to spreading out their finances through to the next payday. And that’s just scraping the surface! It’s amazing how we can scroll through this all day, every day without batting an eye, but if we were around someone who verbally talked this way about himself or herself ALL the time, we’d get sick of it really quickly. You’d think they were desperate for attention, self-loathing, and quite honestly, a little too self-absorbed. All for the sake of being “funny”.
“Would you punch yourself in a street fight, Mr. Burgess?”
“Then don’t punch yourself in a word-fight.”
In the movie The Great Debaters, Denzel Washington (playing professor Melvin B. Tolson) points out that to truly advance in his life, particularly in this debate team, Hamilton Burgess (played by Jermaine Williams) would need to avoid insulting himself. The joke he had previously made at his own expense was a detriment not only to himself, but the team as a whole. …Why?
Tolson understood the power behind his words. It was a cheap and easy way to get a reaction, to become comfortable with his audience, and to make a point without involving anyone else. But at what cost?
“The problem with putting yourself down is that, no matter how wonderful you actually are or how many positive qualities you have, you’ll always find verification of that which you’re looking for.” —Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff with Your Family, Richard Carlson
Put-downs are not grounded in truth. We gravitate towards the realization of what we think is true. Sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy. We act with consistency towards our beliefs or what simply consumes our time and thoughts.
Ever notice how once you or a close buddy purchases a new vehicle, you suddenly seem to notice that vehicle everywhere? It’s not a coincidence. What was once in the background of the world is suddenly at the forefront of our minds, selectively choosing what is worth noticing.
But what’s wrong with being relatable? Nothing at all! Nobody is perfect. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. The problem is that our attitude online bleeds over into our lives. We joke in the office, we poke at the people around us who are “Forever alone!”, we chuckle at our last bologna sandwich when it’s Tuesday night and we have 3 more days to go till we make bank again. Why?
Because building takes work. Tearing down is easy and less of a laughing matter. But here’s the secret: It’s worth more. Worth the energy, worth the creativity, and worth the silence when matched up against the noise of the critical mind.
Know what would happen if you didn’t post until you had something that is a tribute to your more capable self and attractive qualities?
- You’ll post less at first.
- You’ll grab the phone out of habit and NOT desire every 10 seconds ( a.k.a. the detox period) –Take your time and keep yourself busy.
- Eventually, EVENTUALLY, you’ll stumble across a happening worth mentioning, a success worthy of admiration and considered imitable. Something that doesn’t conjure images of a hopeless, bumbling moron, but a human being that actually has a life and hits the mark every now and then.
Trust me, it’s more becoming. It’s Axe in the fog of B.O. posts that reek of insecurities. And you know what? It covers the stink you create (mistakes) in the sweat of grinding out other victories during the marathon of life.
Here’s a quick mental exercise: How do you phrase your thoughts as you make your way through the day? Does your phrasing focus on the negative or positive? Do you put an uplifting spin on what you lack or strive to achieve? Try these on for size…
“We never go out anymore.” Vs. “We should go out more.”
“I’m a terrible cook.” Vs. “My strength lies more in foods that are made on the stove-top and not baked.”
“I’m tired of being such a blob.” Vs. “I’m going to get more fit by trying [insert actual exercise or activity].”
See a pattern here? Longer sentences on the polar end of your typical dialogue? Sure. A little lighter on the heavy word-lard that’s become the social norm? Absolutely. But it has a better after-taste and doesn’t bog you down when you should be lacing up and meeting milestones. It’s a Low-PutDownMe diet that will yield a brighter outlook. I promise.