For all you people haters out there.

“I hate people.”
I have heard far too many people mumble these words. Even good people who treat others very well, almost as if they had actually liked people.

People. Who are they? Well, the word, “people” can be defined as “persons, whether men, women, or children, considered as numerable individuals forming a group.” A simpler definition would be “human beings, as distinguished from animals or other beings.”

Here’s a visual aid I constructed on my very own. Aren’t you enamored with my skills?

People

These are all “people.” They are included in the one’s that you “hate.”

It is not completely impossible that there are some people out there who may actually hate all the examples listed on my picture. But the truth is that there are generally at LEAST 1-2 other humans on this planet that we actually like. It is VERY rare that the number is actually ZERO. Also, you are a “people,” which means you would also hate yourself (Which I hope you don’t because I am sure you are beautiful, wonderful and lovely).

So can we PLEASE stop generalizing all of humanity into a terrible a category that every fiber of your being is against?

Ok, now that is out of the way, let’s talk about WHY we think we hate people.

From my own experience, it’s when we see another human do something that makes us question all of humanity. It could be something small. It could be something large. I had my own moment yesterday with somebody. They acted one way to my face and another behind my back. (I’ve never understood why people feel the need to act different depending on who is standing in front of them. It seems much easier to maintain the same persona all of the time IMO, anyway).

Here are a few more examples. You are out on a walk because it’s a beautiful day outside. You observe another human, driving, blow through a stop sign and perhaps simultaneously looking at their phone. We may mutter, “I hate people.” When really, we hate when people are so selfish that they don’t abide by particular rules or laws and put others in danger. Here’s another; there is a story of a police dog shot in action. Somebody reads this news and then says the favorite line, “This is why I hate people.” The dog actually survives because there is an incredible Veterinarian who tends to the animal immediately and saves its life. The Vet is also a person, though, and falls into the category of which hatred is still placed upon. Really, we may just actually hate those who do harm to animals. Somehow, we forego rightful credit to the humans who attempt to repair and save these animals.

So, are we in agreement that the generalization of hating all of humanity due to some unacceptable acts of a few individuals is a bit extreme and unnecessary?

Beyond the hate.
Are you willing to go one layer deeper? Perhaps to labeling and harsh judgment? We all do it. We are all guilty, whether we realize it or not. Even in the example above about the stop sign and perhaps being on your phone while driving, MOST of us are guilty to some degree. Several of the things we get frustrated about, we are probably guilty of ourselves. Are there more extreme things we are innocent of? Sure. Regardless, as humans, in what environment do we rehabilitate the best? Strict punishment and judgment or forgiveness and grace?

This could easily go all over the place, so I will attempt to be as succinct as possible.

Let’s say you have a family member who got into the wrong crown. You turn your back on them, call them a drug addict and a loser. You place them in this hypothetical box with this label, keeping them there in your mind. Nothing they do can change it. Trapped. They see your actions and your beliefs of them and live up to them. People who should care about them don’t and so they remain the same. Over time, they grow comfortable in your hypothetical box, because they might as well since they aren’t going anywhere.

Now, am I telling you that it’s your fault they are drug addicts? No. Am I telling you to be an enabler to their bad behavior? No. Simply, I am saying, we need to tell and show these people that we believe them to be more than this. That they do not belong inside this box and help them see the world outside of it and how they can be a part of it.

We need to hate the behavior. Not the person. We need to love the person, and for them to know and feel that they are loved. Not label them, not cast them out, not lump them in with some horrible group with a terrible reputation. We need to truly care about each other. Because we need each other.

Grace changes us.
Do you remember a moment in your life where you made a really big mistake? One where you were full of shame and where you felt you deserved harsh judgment and/or punishment? And every time you swallowed, you felt a lump in your throat that would remain there until the truth was finally exposed and you would finally face the punishment of your actions?

Have you ever been right in the middle of that place and then somebody showed you grace instead? Where they hugged you and told you that we have all made mistakes and that you are forgiven? Where they’ve just assumed your overwhelming shame is already enough cause for you to never do that thing again and so they are merely there to be your encouragement to pick up and keep going?

Did you not have the most relief you have ever had in your entire life? Where you know you deserved something far more harsh, and this grace was so beautifully unexpected? You vowed never to make the same mistake again.

I’ve been there. Those moments changed me. Softened me. Helped me heal. Had somebody just mumbled, “I hate people” in response to my actions, that change probably wouldn’t have occurred. Or maybe it would have, but much farther down the line with much heavier consequences.

I don’t think I am the only one with these types of experiences. I am certain that I am not.

Can we agree to attempt to recall these moments next time we are tempted to generalize somebody’s temporary lapse in judgment and behavior and rekindle a misdirected hatred towards all of humanity?

This website is called More Than Dreamers. In order to be so, we must first be believers. Believers in each other and believers in ourselves. Let’s get the hate and the anger out of the way so we can move forward and change the world.

Were you once bitter and callous towards people and realized you needed a change? What was your moment of being softened? How have things changed since? Feel free to share your story in the comments below.

Your acceptance of RBF could be costing you big time.

For those of you not familiar with the term RBF, it stands for “Resting Bitch Face.” And has recently become all the rage. Interestingly, though, the direction that your lips curl on your face has a lot to do with the direction and patterns of one’s life.

I am sure some people pop into your mind who may appear to be “refusers of fun” because they appear so serious all the time. Maybe you don’t even know what their teeth look like. The question is, are we inclined to be around these people often? Or do we tend to keep our distance? Life is short, we want to enjoy it, right?

Here are a few simple truths about the impact of smiling…or not smiling.

Smiling shows confidence.
I’ve known several people in life who don’t smile. Some willingly, some not realizing it at all. Some utterly refuse to smile in pictures as if an image of your smiling face gives off an appearance of weakness. It’s quite the opposite truly. There is nothing that says, “I am confident in who I am.” more than a huge grin on one’s face.

Smiling attracts others.
Have you seen the “Debbie Downer” Saturday Night Live skit? Sure, this may be an extreme example because she is being so negative in the midst of her bubbly friends, but people who don’t smile are generally avoided.

I work in a busy environment with tons of customers coming and going. It is not uncommon to see a customer who needs help, intentionally walk past several employees who might be available, all because they didn’t make eye contact or appear friendly. The customer is generally walking with a purpose and scanning the room. Then when they catch an employee who makes eye contact with them and greets them with a smile, they make a direct approach to that team member. It’s like magic.

Your acceptance of RBF could be costing you big time.

Smiling creates a subconscious human connection.
The truth is, smiling is everything. It makes all the difference in interactions. People generally don’t want to be rude to another smiling individual. Smiling creates this subconscious human connection. A reminder that we are all here for the same thing. It unifies us.

Smiling is a choice.
RBF has almost become this excuse to refuse to initiate a smile. We are all capable. I see people I know who claim to have RBF, smile just fine. So I know they know how. They are not broken. They just choose not to. Smiling isn’t difficult. It’s a choice. And one doesn’t have to be happy to smile, actually, smiling and receiving smiley replies, can stimulate internal happiness.

Smiling breaks barriers.
A few years back I used to do tech support. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t the best technician. I didn’t have any technical expertise or prior technical experience. Prior to this job, I hadn’t tinkered much deeper than running software updates on my computer. But for some reason I excelled and people felt I was great at my job. Soon they asked me to facilitate trainings to help newer technicians. My philosophy was simple, “Anyone can learn how to turn a screw. You are all capable of reading a manual and following directions. The important part is showing the customer that you care. I have a secret weapon… It’s a smile.” It was cheesy, but it was the truth. A smile instantly broke down barriers between the frustrated customer and myself. It sent an instantaneous message of, “I am on your side.”

A smile creates an invisible bond. It creates loyalty. It’s what causes a customer to return to you with a smile, even though their technical issue hadn’t been resolved. It’s what will cause people to come to you for life advice because they know and feel that you care about them. But it has to be genuine. Not manipulative. You actually have to care about the person you are showing that smile to. It will work wonders. It will calm the angry. It will soften the bitter. It will bring life to the broken. Consequently, it will also happen to bring you success. People like being around kind and happy people.

Whether you like people or not, smiling should make your human interactions a much more positive experience.

Smiling can bring your life overwhelmingly positive results.
In “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” Dale Carnegie tells a story of a man who was not living a happy life. This man was tasked with a very simple assignment, but he had to commit to consistency in order for it to be effective. He was asked to smile more. A lot more. To be intentional about it. So he did. Soon, his marriage improved. His work life improved. He made more friends who invited him out. Later, he was told by people he knew, they thought he was mean because he never smiled. After this experience, he shared how he would never go back to not smiling because this simple change had such a tremendous impact on his life.

All because he curls his lips upward more often.

Here’s a challenge. Try smiling more. REALLY smiling. Do it for a week, straight. See what happens. See if people want to be around you more. See if people at work enjoy working with you more. See if your job becomes a little bit easier. See if your friends and family ask you to be around more often. I am sure you are capable. It’s your choice.

Do you have a similar experience of making a positive, smiley change, in your life? Do you have RBF, and somebody helped you realize you didn’t have to? Have you ditched the frown and seen more success in your life because of it? Share your own story below, in the comments.

The need to be “fearless” is a load of shit.

I come from a place where the term “fearless” is thrown around quite often. It has almost been twisted to insinuate that the word “fearless” is somehow synonymous with being authentic. For example, someone who is fearless may just say “exactly what’s on their mind” without regard of additional perspectives or impact to others.

I am here to tell you today, that fear is real and that doing anything of actual purpose or meaning, “fearlessly,” is just a huge load of shit.

Fear is real.
I am not here to debate anybody’s theological belief system or attempt to rationalize salvation with others, but I will use the best example of a historical figure that I know.

Luke shares of the moment when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane the evening prior to the crucifixion. Knowing what was to come, Luke describes Jesus as being in “agony” to the point where he was sweating drops of blood. Hematidrosis is the scientific term for this phenomenon; where one sweats blood due to an extremely high level of stress or anxiety. I’d probably be pretty stressed out if I were about to be crucified as well.

Either way, the point is, if the one person who was supposedly sent to save the whole world can be stressed or have anxiety to the point of sweating blood, that’s enough to say that fear is real (for me, anyway).

I am sure Jesus had a tremendous heart, better than me, for sure. Because had somebody, in a moment like that, approached me and encouraged me to be “fearless,” I probably would want to body slam them into the deepest level of the Earth and make sure they never see the light of day again.

But, that’s just me.

Doing anything new, adventurous, or with a deeper purpose will involve fear.
Some of the most important and meaningful moments of my life were accomplished while in the midst of being absolutely terrified.

I will never forget the moment, several years back, where I looked at my best friend and shared with her the craziest idea that I had ever had; to somehow plan and facilitate a nation-wide silent protest. I was frightened to death of a response such as, “Why?” or “That’s just way too big.” but she didn’t. She said, “Ok. Let’s do it.” and actually allowed me to believe that I could somehow pull this thing off. That season of my life happened to be one where everything lined up. Oddly enough, it was in the midst of the 2008-2009 recession, where my two jobs could barely allow me to work a few hours a week, so I had plenty of time to invest in this gigantic project. The right people just happened to come along to get behind and support the vision. I dedicated so many resources and it will forever be one of the most incredible things I have ever been a part of.

Another extremely important moment in my life, while being simultaneously horrified, was about 4 years ago. I was sitting across from my boss at the time, trembling with fear (not exaggerating, my legs were shaking, I distinctly recall trying to physically hold them still) because I was about to tell this man, who held the fate of my career in his hands, that I thought he was wrong. In that particular season of life, my biggest aspiration was to be promoted to a Leadership position in the company that I had worked for. I was taking the risk of potentially committing career suicide. Not only was this Leader, so gracious with the feedback that I gave him; later down the road, he acknowledged me in an all-store meeting with an award for giving him the best feedback he had ever received while in his current position. But the truth was, I was so scared. I was certain I would puke all over myself before I actually got all the words out. I was everything but fearless.

Fearless is full of ego.
Oppositely and more recently, I went into a conversation with somebody in a very “fearless” manner. And very quickly, it was revealed to me that I didn’t take anything from this person’s perspective into consideration. I went in, fearlessly assuming, I was right and they were wrong and then, fearfully, I found myself in a gigantic mess of words that could not be unsaid.

If I don’t have a bit of a knot in the pit of my stomach before I am about to walk into a somewhat difficult conversation with somebody, I may need to check myself. It’s likely that I am currently being blinded by pride and don’t have a person’s best interest at heart. And if you are in a position of Leadership or authority, that is one thing that should be at the forefront of your mind at all times; the best interest of your team members. You impact their lives in a tremendous way. That’s nothing to take lightly.

Fear is boring.
In Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, she says something incredible. “Your fear is the most boring thing about you.”

You’re probably thinking, “But you just told me that you experienced some of your most important life moments while being afraid.”

Yes.

I did.

The actions that I took, were some of the most memorable and important. I just happened to also be full of fear while doing them.

We are ALL afraid. Every single one of us. It’s the way we are wired. You know, something about human nature and survival instincts, blah blah blah. You have fear. I have fear. We are all afraid. THAT is the boring part. Are you going to let the boring thing, that every single person on Earth struggles with, prevent you from living out important and meaningful moments in your life?

Find a way to live with your fear.
Let me say that again. LIVE with your fear. LIVE your life. You may be afraid, but you will be truly living. The point is NOT to be fear-less. The point is to take action regardless.

We need to find a way to co-exist with our fear. Truly, if we are not afraid, we are not doing anything challenging or worth risk. We need fear to know we are on the brink of something bigger than ourselves.

I would rather deal with “Fraud” or “Imposter” syndrome any day of the week, versus, not living out my life and its purpose at all, because my boring fear rules and dictates my life’s outcome. Do that shit afraid. It doesn’t matter. Just do it.

Are you letting your fear hold you back and paralyze you? Have you been caught in the lie of needing to be “fearless?” What have you learned from it? Share your journey in the comments below.

Are you offering a seat or hoping to fill one?

In the movie, Forest Gump, there is a scene where Forest first meets the love of his life, Jenny. As a young boy, he gets on the bus for the first day of school. He walks through the bus, looking for a seat. Each kid informs him that all the open spots are taken. At that moment when he seems broken and just stands in a daze, a small voice says, “You can sit here, if you want.” As Forest recollects this moment, he refers to Jenny’s voice as “the sweetest voice in the whole wide world.”

As awesome as Forest was, this moment is about Jenny. Jenny had plenty of her own issues and things going on in her life, but she still made a space for Forest.

Here are a few reasons why we should all be making a seat for others and not waiting for them to make a seat for us.

If you’re waiting, you’re just daydreaming.

In the same scene above, after Forest has met rejection, he stands there gazing off into the distance. He wasn’t sitting. He wasn’t moving. He was just there; pondering. Often, if we find ourselves waiting on others, we aren’t actually doing much, let alone what we hoped to accomplish. If you haven’t gotten started on what you want to do in life because you are waiting for the right people to come along and help, you are doing nothing but wishful thinking. It’s time to get going and take action.

If you’re not on a journey, you won’t meet any fellow travelers.

When I was about 7 years old, I had a dream that Janet Jackson pulled me on stage with her at a concert. We sang and danced and rocked peoples faces off. But, it was a dream. Janet never found me in real life. And she never will. Because that was a dream and she has no idea who I am. I never went on a journey to find her (mostly because I am not a stalker & Janet has nothing to do with what I do now).

Also, outside of pesky salesmen, I have never had a traveler come knock on my door at home and tell me that they are looking for somebody like me to join them. If they had, I might call the police on them…because that’s creepy. Just as Janet might have called the police on me, had I done the same.

However, throughout my journey of life, thus far, I have met some incredible people. These people have imparted incredible wisdom and insight into my life. Had I not had moments where I put myself out there and made the trek, our paths would have never crossed.

Meeting other travelers is a worthy investment of time.

I would actually argue that it is the most important investment of time. A few years ago, I took the trip of a lifetime and traveled to the UK with my best friend. We went to a lot of places in the span of 2 weeks. I saw incredible sites and ate some delicious food. But what I remember the most are the people that I met. Tea time with fellow travelers and their perception of Americans. Tattoos in Glasgow with Ferg. Dinner at the pub with Marion. Moments in time that are now precious in my heart. People I would have never met or made an impression on me if I wouldn’t have gotten on that 10 hour flight and flown across the world.

It’s the same when we talk about the pursuit of our dreams and passions. When we are open to sharing a seat, people will show up to accompany and strengthen us along our journey. We aren’t meant to do this alone. We have things to share and things to learn.

Scotland
Photo by: The Amberlight Collective

Your tribe is out there.

Often in life, we believe that our journey should be with particular people. And so we wait. This group of people, in popular culture today, is often referred to as your “tribe.” It’s a group of people who may do what you do or think how you think. It’s the people that you surround yourself with and who spur you on. When we keep a seat open, it’s much easier to discover who these people are. They may need your help, you may need theirs. You may just need some company along the way.

Be careful not to force yourself to fit into somebody else’s tribe.

There are a lot of people out there doing some great things. You may deeply admire these people. Don’t let the admiration overshadow the fact that you have your own gifts and talents to offer. Your tribe should be people on your level who can be honest with you and you with them. If you attempt to force yourself into somebody else’s tribe you run the risk of not staying true to yourself and your gifts, out of a need to be accepted by this tribe.

Don’t get caught waiting for a tribe to ask you to join. You could be waiting a long time or even forever. And remember, if you’re not moving forward, you’re just daydreaming. This is your life. Waiting to fit in somebody else’s tribe could cause you to completely miss the bus altogether.

If I chose to continue daydreaming with Janet, I would never have met my tribe. I’ve met my tribe by taking action and surrounding myself with like-minded people. And so will you. You probably already have a tribe and haven’t even realized it. Your tribe will continue to evolve and change throughout time. If you don’t have a tribe yet, be Jenny. Be on the bus, going in a forward motion and keep a seat open for others. Don’t wait for community, create it.

Are you keeping a seat open along your journey? Have you been hoping to fit into somebody else’s tribe? What lessons have you learned along your journey? Please share in the comments.