Dec 29, 2011 General Blogging
Posted by Allison
I have a confession to make: I love Jewel. Okay, maybe she had a little bump in the road with that god-awful song about following your intuition, but her Spirit album makes my top ten list. One of the Jewel songs I really like is “Hands.”
This has relevance to blogging. I promise. You shall be rewarded if you keep reading. And if you consider a post about blogging a reward. It’s questionable. Stay with me people!
Anyway, “Hands” has Christian undertones, as do many of Jewel’s songs, but you don’t have to be Christian or even spiritual to appreciate what she’s saying. My favorite line from that song, and one of my favorite lyrics of all time is, “In the end, only kindness matters.”
It’s powerful, because it’s a reminder that much of what we choose to have in our lives is petty. Things feel so important in the moment, but in the end, what’s going to stick with the people you meet is whether or not you are a kind person.
Kind does not mean that you’re a pushover or that you don’t stand up for what you believe in or that you are gullible. Sometimes, you need to get angry. But when it consumes us, when life is about tit for tat and burned bridges, when we’re too often found stubbornly waiting for the other person to apologize, our work suffers.
I am a better blogger because I’m learning to forgive and let go. I’m learning to take a step back rather than giving in to upset feelings. I’m learning that I don’t have to see eye-to-eye with someone to work with them or even form a friendship. These things have helped my blogging business more than any silly internet marketing product or ecourse or ebook or whatever.
In the end, only kindness matters.
My Three Month Experiment
This summer, I decided to try an experiment, which I’m calling “three months to bitch.” When something or someone offends me, they get three months on my internal “I’m pissed off” list. For three months, I allow myself to be stubborn and pout. Sometimes, I reach out to the person and confront them about how they’ve upset me. Other times, I just bottle it up. But in both cases, they only get three months of my time. That’s it. When that time is up, they are forgiven and I move on.
It’s easier said than done, of course! And obviously, while you can forgive someone, it’s good business sense not to forget, since we are creatures of habit and people don’t really change. But having that self-imposed bitching limit has been AMAZING.
It allows me to avoid making stupid business decisions just because I’m holding some grudge. Once, maybe three years ago, I had a really awesome business opportunity to work with a brand, and I turned it down because I was holding a grudge against one of their other writers. I regret acting like that. It was a “cut off your nose to spite your face” type of thing. At the time, though, it seemed like the right thing to do. I was too consumed by the grudge that I had been holding for nearly a year.
Plant Seeds of Kindness and You’ll Have a Whole Garden of Flowers Later
That header is pretty cheesy, but I don’t apologize for it…because it’s right! Karma definitely exists on an individual, personal level. The reader whose question you answer today could go on to start a blog that explodes onto the scene. Someday, when they’re a celebrity, they’ll remember that you were helpful, you were kind when it didn’t benefit you.
I’m not trying to suggest that your motivation for kindness should be purely self-serving, because the fact of the matter is that most of the people you help in this industry won’t go on to be super successful. And those who do? A lot of them will be jerks and never return the favor in any way. But sometimes, just sometimes, you’ll get that little boost from someone you’ve been kind to in the past.
I’m going to go a little geeky on you now and talk about one of my favorite scenes from this past season of Doctor Who. For those of you who haven’t seen the show, the premise is that there’s an alien (who looks like a man) called “The Doctor,” and he flies around the universe trying to save others from whatever bad guys are attacking. In the season finale, The Doctor finds himself caught in an alternative universe, in an impossible situation where (it seems) the only solution is for him to die.
On the news, they’ve been reporting solar flares, but what one of his companions reveals is that they aren’t actually solar flares at all. She’s been transmitting a message to the entire universe that says, “The Doctor is dying. Please, please help.” And from all of time and space, every corner, those he’s touched come out of the woodwork, asking what they can do and offering everything they have to help him.
That’s the power of kindness. Grudges and snark will not get you a sky full of aliens who are willing to die so that you might live.
The Time Is Now
It’s the holiday season, so there’s really no better time to reach out and make amends. Rebuild bridges that have been burned, apologize even if you weren’t at fault, and wash the anger out of your heart. Or, if it’s still too painful or stressful to have someone in your life, at least let things go internally so it isn’t consuming you. Make the conscious decision to not allow that person to have even a minute more of your time.
And then, fill that space in your soul with kindness. I’m not just talking about donating to charity (though that’s definitely a noble thing to do). Actually do something nice for someone in your life. Make a little difference in someone’s life. Say yes when you’d normally say no, just because you want to help another person. Give someone that helping hand that you would have loved to have when you were a new blogger. Retweet a new blogger’s post. Offer a free copy of your book to someone just starting. Leave a comment on a blog that doesn’t get a ton of traffic. In other words, show the love!
No matter whether or not the other person responds, I guarantee that it will make you feel much better than those nasty feelings of resentment you’ve been holding.
In the end, only kindness matters.