We live in a day and age where we are constantly bombarded with all sorts of information like never before in the history of time. We have all the latest technologies, gadgets, connections and resources, making us well equipped. We are entrepreneurial with such vivid imagination and an immense ability to think outside the box. We are a generation that is so resourceful and have access to almost any information instantaneously with as little as a click of a button. Yet we are also a generation that holds little to no regard for the actual truth. We have a never ending list of resources to acquire all the information we could possibly want yet not enough drive to seek out the truth in the fear of it offending our mindsets. We are so quick to alter the truth in order to justify our circumstance/ lifestyle/ choices just for that instant gratification and call it “our truth”. This is basically a warped way to validate our actions, behaviours and thoughts and feel good about it. We are also a politically correct generation that puts so much emphasis on making sure everyone is pleased and no one is offended even if it is at the cost of the truth. No wonder the Millennial generation (ages 39-25) and Generation Z (ages 24-9) have been coined the term Generation Snowflake. The term reflects how easily prone to offense we are, stating that this is because we have less psychological resilience than previous generations and we are too emotionally vulnerable to cope with views that challenge our own. Phew, would someone pass me a handkerchief please? *smirks* But seriously though, that pretty much sums up one of the biggest issues today. We cannot listen to an opposing view (usually the truth) long enough because we are too afraid of being challenged, of being wrong and of being offended.
Then we have the dangerous land of assumptions that if you are honest with yourself, we have all inhabited from time to time. You assume something about someone because of your super brief exchanges of hello and goodbye. You didn’t like the way they said hi, you didn’t like the tone they used or they didn’t shake your hand long enough. How many times do we all make up scenarios in our head about someone because they didn’t smile at you the way you hoped they would instead of giving them the benefit of the doubt and actually having a simple conversation with them? Then God forbid, you approach someone and confront them about their behaviour or actions with the intention to build a deeper and authentic connection. Well, before you could even finish talking to them, they’ve made you the bad guy, convinced everyone around them that you are the bad guy and made themselves the victim. How many times do we hear something about someone and without a second thought, we believe their story. What if the story was just this individual’s exaggerated version of it and was warped from their experience to make themselves seem like the victim? You just passed judgement on someone without actually getting to know them and their side of the story. Pretty harsh don’t you think? I read a quote by someone once that said “Let’s make a habit of shutting down ALL conversation that start with “I HEARD””. I couldn’t agree more with this. I have made a conscious decision to do this with my husband and it is liberating. I mean who cares what anyone thinks of you if they haven’t walked a mile in your shoes and don’t know the first thing about you? You don’t need to know what everyone thinks of you anyway, unless they are in the dirt fighting your battles alongside you, they do not get to have a voice in your life.
What I am trying to get to is that information and truth are two completely different things. Information by itself is an incomplete and isolated statement(s) that carries no real or profound weight or value and it is not the full picture. It is not the truth unless a pattern along with a solid evidence has been derived by piecing together the information you have at hand.
You need to discern truth and seek after it which of course requires a lot of work and effort. That is why we are advised to take everything the media throws at us today as “the truth” with a pinch of salt because oftentimes you are only given a few pieces of information which you then have the responsibility to think for yourself before you can come to a conclusion. Similarly when you make up something about someone in your head and there is no previous pattern of this behaviour and no real evidence then I’m sorry to tell you, they get a free pass. Having said that it is equally important to note that someone’s repetitive negative behaviour DOES need to be called out and not just excused.
Now, I am not writing this to beat anyone up about anything or to shame anyone. This is just to enlighten you and help us see a different perspective. We all look through the eyes of our own lens. However our lens can oftentimes show us a distorted view as a result of our experience, our circumstance or quite frankly our mood. If we are not careful we will find the thing we are looking for to support our distorted view. If you look long enough for faults and accusations, sure enough you will find it. Whatever you focus on then becomes your reality. We need to refocus our lens from time to time and/or find a different lens that shows a more detailed view that might actually be different from what we perceived it to be in the first place. That means being in an actual pursuit of truth. Oftentimes truth can be revealed through a friend or family (with discernment and your best interest in mind) who corrects or calls you out, other times that can come in the form of an opposing point of view.
I want to invite you to see truth as a journey rather than a destination. When you can see it is this way, you are not immediately forced to draw a quick conclusion or have the last say and be right. Can we be a generation that shuts down any conversation that does not add value to our life (like gossip, slander, overthinking and victimising ourselves)? Can we be a generation that says I am not going to judge someone based on someone else’s opinion? I live by this rule, if I haven’t had a long enough conversation with someone, it doesn’t matter who says what, I do not have the right to voice an opinion towards them. This requires me to seek out the truth rather than draw conclusions based on some incomplete pieces of information. It also requires me to get off my butt and actually get to know people for who they really are to gain clarity. This directly leads me to loving people well, have more empathy and peace and less anxiety. When you are equipped with the right emotional tools, you are no longer interested in anything that doesn’t lead to your growth. With the vast amount of resources we have at our fingertips today, we know it is not so hard to go seek counsel as and when needed and receive the right tools. Also, one of the most attractive and truly life giving qualities to have is emotional intelligence. Consequently, maybe just maybe this could be the start of us learning to grow into an emotionally intelligent generation while still being the brightest, smartest and most entrepreneurial generation ever known to mankind.