The Bravo Rule

One of the reasons that so many have problems with social media is that they don’t understand the psychology of argument, much less see themselves as other people do. You’re not going to affect someone’s opinion by using a megaphone. Or harsh words. Your volume will be heard – but never absorbed. You become background noise in a world that already has sufficient static to dishearten us. People need truth to be whispered to them, preferably with a velvet glove. Addicts don’t hear love, angry people don’t respond to outreach, and most of us must approach new information sideways, like human crabs. It takes time and compassion to affect someone. I hate that I only learn many of my lessons after the class of life is already over. I know I’m wrong about so much, because as confident as I was when I was younger, it is painfully clear that my ignorance held me captive. That process surely still continues, with future days looking back at today in surprise at my slow evolution.

Words are an important component of the process. Actions are another. If you’re polarizing, you are shouting on the internet. People will tune you out. Whether you’re blind to this truth or not, you should pause and consider what kind of conversations and communication have an impact on you. I’ll bet that your vision doesn’t include anger, shouting, or aggressive insistence. Communication requires comprehension. By being tersely aggressive, you’ve short-circuited your ability to not only reach people, but also to put a little bit of ‘you’ inside their heads, much less their hearts.

If your goal is to reach a person’s heart and mind, you must take the time to share a little piece of yourself in the process. People might respond if they recognize a bit of vulnerability in your words. It’s easier to accept someone if the listener observes a bit of humanity. People respect doubt, as it provides a common avenue for us all to recognize that we don’t have all the answers.

Take the time to share yourself. Include your opinions in the process. It’s social media. If you understand the social component, you’ll wisely avoid the urge to do the equivalent of standing on the street corner shouting. You’ll get further by shaking hands, hugging, and relating to people in a way they can understand.

If you can find a way to express yourself with love, it will shine through in your words. Everyone will be richer for it.

We want to get to know other people. We feel like we already know you if your tone and tenor is not tender.

I’ll give an example: I wish we had universal health care for everyone. Life can hammer any of us to the point of bankruptcy, whether we’re lucky enough to have insurance or not. Not only would providing healthcare be cheaper per capita, but it sends the message that we are willing to collectively help one another. It is the purest practical expression of love and compassion. “Do unto others” compels me to agree that everyone should have health care equal to me. Health is the often ignored common denominator to a happier life. In the last year, I abandoned so many bad habits and transformed my life and body. Despite doing it right, my body still threw me a red flag and almost killed me. People don’t deserve the physical terrors of cancer and a list of other diseases. When I hear arguments about universal health care, I don’t hear practical arguments: I hear a lack of “do unto others.”

Don’t “@me” that you don’t know how to write. It’s not about that. It’s about openly sharing your thoughts and yourself. Language is never an impediment to sentiment and feelings that brim over and out of your heart. You will always find a way to express the best emotions. We’re hard-wired to do so. All of us.

P.S. If you want to really break free, open your closet of secrets. So much of our anguish is contained in the things we don’t want other people to know. You’ll never be authentically loved if your secrets and locked in a closet.

Love, X

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