Honey And Vinegar
(aka Why People Get Pissed At You When You Are A Jerk)
I had a beautiful post half written while basking in the glow of co-working with herbal tea and holiday tree cupcakes at The House Of Urban Angst. It was about the holidays and spreading love and handwritten cards. It also involved sugar cookies and twinkle lights. Two of my favorite things about the season.
But all weekend long I’ve been talking to people about a different issue. I figure if I’ve hit my sixth conversation in 48 hours, it’s probably a topic that’s pretty relevant right now.
There’s the saying “You catch more bees with honey than you do with vinegar.” Or maybe it is an old wives tale.
But writing nice things doesn’t get us blog traffic, does it?
Instead we write absolute statements. Rooted in punishment.
What you think makes you happy is wrong.
Your job is a nightmare. I would hate it. You should too.
The way you support your cause is stupid.
The fact that you fell in love and got married means you settled.
Where you live makes you simple and unworldly.
The items you own tie you to a miserable existence.
The life that you are living is slowly killing you inside.
The justification for all these beliefs is simple.
I know better.
I don’t think many people do this because they have malicious intent. I don’t even think that some realize what they sound like when they get fired up about their passions. Which is both inspiring and irritating.
It reminds me of when you find a new restaurant in town. And you LOVE the food at this restaurant. And you eat it nightly. You tell everyone about it. You bring out-of-town friends there.
If the strange vegan Ethiopian-Creole noodle bar had a religion you’d be the head monk.
But not everyone likes vegan Ethiopian-Creole noodles.
This blows your mind. Cause YOU obviously know that this is the best thing since sliced white bread (which they serve as a side at the noodle bar.) So you start promoting it even more. You want people to taste the tangy wonderfulness of your vegan Ethiopian-Creole noodle bar. You know it will give them an entirely new perspective on food.
Yet people still hold true to their own tastes. Delivery pizza and fine Italian cuisine win out in foodie conversations. The Foursquare check-ins begin to drop. The owners are worried because you are the only one and since you eat there every night money is tight and you don’t really tip the staff well.
So you lash out. You start pointing out how delivery pizza is greasy and arrives cold half the time. And that Italian cuisine is a glutenous simple carbohydrate calorie fest that is surely clogging their arteries and causing them a slow and painful death. You want people to see the light. You want them to experience the euphoria that you experience.
You forgot one thing.
We are all different people, motivated by different things. Free to live our own lives and find our own happiness.
And that might involve lukewarm delivery pizza.
I am psyched that you figured out how to earn $1000+ in one day from your affiliate marketing. And I want to pick you up and spin hug the bejeezus out of you that you love living overseas in a hut on the ocean. The fact that you believe so strongly in your non-profit foundation inspires me to be an activist for my own causes. I think it is pretty cool that you own 37 items and are reducing your carbon footprint.
In fact, I probably subscribe to your blog. Read your thoughts. Interact in comments. Respect your opinions. Buy your (e)Books. Want to learn some of your secrets. And that is why I ask you:
Stop telling people that they aren’t good enough because they don’t live your life.
Or if you do, stop wondering why they call you on your bullshit. And when they call you on it, own up to it.
And stop acting like your life is perfect and theirs could be too if they only duplicate yours.
Wanting people to be the best versions of themselves. I can get on board with that.
Otherwise, you are just a newer version of the status quo. Telling them how to live their lives.
And isn’t that kind of what you advocate against?
Photo Credit: Kent Wang (Flickr)
*I’d also like to note, this isn’t a commentary on activists or lifestyle designers or location independents. There are many in those niches that inspire, create and give light. But there are unfortunately a good number of people in those niches giving them a VERY bad name lately…if this post gets you antagonized and fired up, maybe there’s a reason.