A Speech to Millenials, From a Millenial, About Social Media

I’m going to talk a lot today. #SorryNotSorry

It’s clear the world has lost its way. People are upset, angry, frustrated, exasperated, disappointed, distraught, oppressed, offended, wounded, hurting, apathetic, passionate, etc. Something is wrong. When social media became an outlet for news, everything went downhill. I was a Journalism student so I know how effective social media is for spreading ideas and stories. In fact, I’m about to use it now just to tell you what I think. (The irony…)

Before Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr we had two main ways to find out about world issues: newspapers and broadcasts (either on television or radio). Most news, if not all, was thoroughly investigated before it was published, and journalists try to sift through the opinions and biases to share what goes on. But lately, that’s not what people see the most. News is spreading through hashtags and viral video rants, which get people riled up instead of informed on current issues. It’s so bad we can’t avoid it anymore. As soon as I turn on the news, I’m already getting heartbroken over what I hear. And maybe I should be upset, but social media takes it to another level, causing more division and hate than spreading the awareness we attempt to.

I’m not saying social media itself is bad. Thanks to Facebook I get to talk to my grandma every day. Thanks to Instagram I get inspiration from the photos of my friends’ adventures. Thanks to Twitter I get to see updates from my favourite bands. Thanks to YouTube I learned how to love and take care of my curly hair. Social media itself isn’t bad; it’s the abuse of it to amplify bad news and encourage us to take biased positions. People are more upset about seeing a video of someone attacked than they are about the fact that a life was taken unnecessarily. It shouldn’t take a graphic video to make us realize we have a gun problem, a stereotyping problem, a hate problem, or a justice problem. I don’t want to get much more into that because we are each clouded by our perspectives and it’s time to agree on something. The barrage of posts online is overloading us with one-sided ideas and social media operates to make us see posts like the ones we’re interested in, and that further hinders our objectivity.

This information overload also has the opposite effect on us by desensitizing us. We hear so many things that stories often lose their impact or we choose not to care. There’s too much information. Scroll down Facebook for just two minutes and you’ll experience the dull hum of apathy. If you hate a post you’ll skip it or write a comment. If you like it you’ll… like it. And then move on. Too easy. We are complacent because we know too much. And we don’t care as much because our attention spans are shorter than that of a goldfish. And we don’t know the truth because we only hear opinions.

We need to start with ourselves. We are the current and upcoming generation of parents, educators, scientists, leaders, inventors, public speakers, filmmakers, musicians and politicians. It’s our job to make things better for the next generation. It’s our job to care. Unfortunately there’s an overwhelming amount of 20-something year olds who aren’t focused on developing their character for the responsibilities that are necessary in adulthood. It shocks me to see that people are still engrossed in celebrity gossip and Internet trends instead of paying attention to what is happening our world. We should be listening. People older than us despise our carelessness and people younger than us don’t respect us. This should deeply concern us.

The problems in this world are too tremendous for us to understand or deal with by using the Internet, and maybe it’s not our job to set fires to get people over-stimulated. Look at what it’s already done. Maybe our job is to comfort those who have been treated unjustly. Maybe our job is to take on positions where we can influence people to be more sensitive, understanding, considerate. Maybe a compassionate approach is more effective than an aggressive one.

I hope there are more of us who want peace instead of another war.
I hope there are more of us who would rather respect each other’s beliefs than those who want to force the world into nihilism.
I pray for a time without prejudice.
I pray for a world where children aren’t afraid to walk to the store.
I pray for a world without murder for any reason. Civillian or officer.
I want this to end because this is not okay and we are ALL created equal.

This isn’t possible if we’re watching the world through a palm-sized screen.

We have to put down our phones, have a conversation, talk to each other, build face-to-face relationships and understand each other’s concerns so we can comfort each other. And when we do raise our voices it should come from a place of concern and love as we stand up for the voiceless and the ignored, not from a place of deeply rooted hatred, revenge and disgust.

So what do you think? Should we repeat the same mistakes for another hundred years? Let’s spend less time fighting online and spend more time in line with what people are thinking, feeling and experiencing. Let’s shift away from the distractions of the Internet and get to know each other. Brothers and sisters, let us love one another.

The very thing that was intended to help us get closer has divided us. I don’t want us to live the rest of our lives in the frustration of problems we can’t fix and the desperation to make the causes we care about known. I want us to listen to each other and care more about what is happening to our neighbours. I want us to tear ourselves out of our compulsion to always be online so we can observe and engage with people to realize how similar we are. Maybe then we wouldn’t be so afraid of people who are different.

When we’re united we’ll be deeply saddened when we hear about every death.
It’ll cause us to have mututal respect.
It’ll cause us to seek the real issues at hand because the right to live is always more important than the right to bear arms.
It’ll cause us to keep those in power accountable, and well-trained.
It’ll cause us to be more patient and give more grace to the whole group when a select few are viscious and unkind.
It’ll cause us to forgive instead of seeking revenge and causing a chain reaction.
And one by one we’ll make the world a better place.

If we change how we think and teach others to do the same, it’ll be a rainy evening one day in 2030 and we’ll be driving home listening to the news and smile as we hear about the good things happening in the world. Because we stopped to care.

Wouldn’t that be the day.

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[It’s crazy to think it was only a year after I was born that the World Wide Web came into existence. Five years later, Hotmail launched. My dad worked in IT at the time so he had a computer for us to learn and play on (a really, really old one). And it was okay. We had an hour maximum a day on it to play games and that was it. Then we’d go back to climbing trees and playing Sandman. It’s shocking to realize it only took about a decade for humanity to become so involved in a digital existence that we are actually struggling to regain the ability to communicate effectively.]

The Profound Mystery of Grace

Every day we are bombarded with ideas and the older I get the more I realize progressive society wants us to safeguard ourselves from the intentional or unintentional harm of others. It’s grown to be part of our natural human reaction to pain and disappointment. Scroll through Instagram or Twitter and the majority of perspectives on forgiveness are… well.. you wont see any. That’s because the progressive voice of media is focused on making us believe we are void of fault and everyone else is our enemy. In a time where autonomy and self-preservation are the norm, forgiveness is seen as naive and even a foolish response to harm.

Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.

-Luke 17:3-4

This is only one of the statements Jesus made on the subject of forgiveness. He even went as far to say that if we do not forgive our brother, He will not forgive us. (Matthew 6:14-15) Most of us find the first part of this verse favorable. We relish in the idea of correcting someone and taking them out of their troublesome ways. We like to fix people and we take pride in being able to provide someone the help they need to make their lives better. But see how quickly Jesus moved on to say “if he repents, forgive him.” He doesn’t just want us to correct our friends but to forgive them, even when they do it over and over and over again, and even when they don’t ask for it. See, there is no limit on how many times we should forgive someone, and there are no conditions on whether we should or not either. Jesus doesn’t offer conditions such as “if she gets professional help” or “if he brings you nice gifts and makes you a lot of promises” or even “when she says sorry.” He just tells us to.

Kindness has more power than resentment.

This is the profound mystery of grace: Jesus asks this of us because this is how He forgives us. Whoa. Really? But isn’t he going to punish me for my mistakes? Isn’t he going to expect me to follow all His rules perfectly? How many good works will I have to do to earn it? That’s the thing! There is nothing you can do to earn your forgiveness. It’s free. He just gives it. No questions asked.

When someone comes to you asking for forgiveness, it takes a lot of humility and courage. It’s hard to be honest with ourselves and with the people we have wronged. Speaking it aloud makes it real and sometimes the risks are terrifying. When we step back and look at the big picture, we can see ourselves in both roles at various times in our lives. We see times where we wanted forgiveness, and times when we wished for it.  Even when forgiveness is painful, it’s also our path to peace. Holding grudges make us bitter and hardens our hearts. Built up bitterness makes us skeptical of people and makes us hard to love. Forgiveness takes a lot more strength than rejecting someone for their mistakes, and it actually makes our lives a lot happier in the long run. It sets us free.

…on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.

-2 Corinthians 2:6-8

Change is Hard

​Change is hard but surrounded by the right people is possible. Often times we don’t consider who we select as friends and allow any nice person to be our influencers. Enough time passes and we can lose the standard of morality and conviction we used to have in our childhood innocence. Getting back to roots is hard when your surroundings don’t or can’t change but with God all things are possible (Matt 19:26). I’m learning more and more that change isn’t possible if I depend on my ability to follow the rules all the time because I’ll fail without a doubt, but change is possible when I focus on how God can use my life for good, because He will, and what that looks like. The challenge is keeping that picture at the forefront of my mind.

Moving On After A Bad Breakup

As soon as you read the headline you were probably already thinking about that time when you had your worst breakup. Or maybe you’re thinking of a horrible story your best friend told you about their ugly end to a long relationship. It’s taken me almost two years to write this and to be honest it feels strange digging it up again because it’s been so long but I would regret never writing this story. It’s a sad story, that happens to more people than I ever imagined. And you need to know that life gets better — because it does.

Let’s dive in.

(Heart) Breaking News

It was a Thursday afternoon at work and I was browsing through Facebook when I noticed the little red “2” bubble hovering over my “Other” Message Box.

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I opened it and quickly skimmed a message from a girl I’ve never heard of before. She asked me if I was still with my boyfriend at the time because she’d been seeing him all summer and some sketchy stuff was going on. The second message was from a different girl, whom I also did not know, asking a similar question. Wut.

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It doesn’t really matter how you found out, whether through your ex, catching them in the act, or from a message by the third party(ies). It just flat out sucks to discover the person you thought you knew all this time was capable of such a horrible series of actions. The pain I felt was unlike anything I ever felt before. I felt utterly betrayed, confused, exasperated, disappointed and mortified. It took a while for the shock to pass and I had a hard time deciding how to deal with it and where to go from there.

The Lurking / Mourning Stage

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Cheating is probably one of the worst causes for a breakup but how you deal with it is an opportunity to let the experience either ruin you or mold you. As with any break up during this social media era, it takes a lot of self-control not to check their profiles for updates, or hack into their emails to see what they’re up to. In fact, lurking their blogs or Twitter feeds does you more harm in the end. The truth is, you’re not going to get anything but bitterness when you find out your ex is either still fooling around, or depressed and remorseful. Nothing can change what he/she did to you, and honestly at this point, it’s not about them anymore — it’s about you.

Avoiding The Reckless Search for Temporary Fixes Stage

There are two ways you’ll handle the breakup. You’ll either run off and mess around, get wasted at parties, and binge-watch Netflix to make yourself forget, or you’ll find healthy ways to deal with it that, although slowly, will help you rebuild your self-esteem and rediscover your value. Although the first method might seem to work for a time, you’ll still have those nights when you wake up at 3:15 AM thinking about how it used to be, and what happened to make him/her do that. You’ll still have broken relationships because of unresolved trust issues. You’ll still doubt your worth because you’re not showing the world what you stand for. This is why this stage is best to avoid… so those things don’t happen. Instead, focus on how you can grow from this… which leads to my next point.

Be Like A Phoenix

I love the concept of a Phoenix (all my fellow Harry Potter fans, HOLLAAAA). The idea that the mystical bird must suffer intense burning from flames and ash just to be reborn and transformed is what happens to us after dealing with any crisis in life. We can either remain a pile of ash and never regain our hope and confidence again, or rise up, even though it hurts, and become something more. Romantic love might never seem the same again — your whole understanding of true love, trust and honesty was just crushed. But that doesn’t mean that perspective can’t be repaired. The future can get better. It doesn’t mean people are garbage. It doesn’t mean there is no hope for your future and it doesn’t mean you’re not worth better. Because now you’re stronger. You have a great story of healing and accomplishment to write and share. You’re going to inspire and encourage. You’re a Phoenix reborn.

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Rediscover Your Worth

I joined the gym a month after the breakup. It was a healthy and fun way to rebuild my self-confidence. I started a journal to get my feelings out on paper and read articles on positivity and healthy reflection. I reunited with old friends and went out more, and that’s a good thing! Don’t sit around in your room, get out there, catch a movie, go to the drive-in, walk around the community, get a gym membership, pick up a hobby, host a BBQ or potluck, reunite with old friends and embrace new ones, build relationships with people you can trust, spend time with your family, be with people who love you! There are so many other amazing relationships for human beings to experience and you owe it to yourself to discover or revive them. Plus, this is a chance for you to learn about who you are. A cheating ex has no power over your present or your future. Instead of looking back and dwelling on your pain, look forward at the freedom you’re about to experience! Appreciate who you are because you are a treasure and it’s going to get better. You’re full of beautiful qualities that you should discover, embrace and be proud of.

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Set Your Standards High

Seriously do this. Sit down and write down a list of things you expect from your future man/woman and a list of the things you won’t tolerate. (Be reasonable of course, no one is perfect!) Read it over a few times then put it away. Doing this will give you a picture of what you believe you deserve from someone and it also refreshes your mind when you are ready for a new relationship. This way when you go on a date and he doesn’t open the door for you, or she won’t put her phone down the whole evening, you will know it’s not right. Setting your standards high will show the new person you’re not going to settle for mediocre and you want to be treated like the diamond you are. It’s worth the wait to find someone who is willing to grow to meet those expectations.

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Legitimately at Peace

This is where I am now — it’s where you’re going to be! Since the incident I embraced a new relationship and it’s been a tough journey but he was patient and stuck with me through it. If I never gave him a chance I would never have known what I was missing all this time! In the past year and 8 months I’ve had more adventures in such a short time than ever before! And it’s because of the standards I set, the confidence I have in God’s love, my family’s love and my friends’ love, that allowed me not to settle for just anyone because of my fear and desperation. I’m living proof that life does go on and things do get better.

I want to hear your story too! If you’ve been through something like this and want to share your experience or give tips for what helped you move forward, please leave a comment — thank you🙂

SD

Why We Must Be Accountable

The Dramatic Shift

I’ve come to notice our world is shifting in how it uses language and what it defines as truth. Present day mentality concerning our identity as individuals (formerly mankind, which emphasizes plurality) is we should all be accepted for who we are, our beliefs should be tolerated and the world needs to change to suit us. This would be an excellent mentality if every individual were the same, but we live in a world where we all have unique traits, qualities and characteristics that make us special. This idea of absolute tolerance and acceptance doesn’t encourage self-improvement as much as it encourages self-promotion and the desperate fight for our personal rights.

To an extent, I agree with human rights. I like the idea that no matter who you are you have the basic human right to food, a home, clothes, running water, a job, kindness and respect. But over here in the developed world we have taken this fight for rights to an extreme level. As a culture we have been so bombarded by new labels that allow us to define or redefine ourselves, despite our previous understandings of self, our biological makeup and despite the age-old definitions of marriage, family and gender roles. We have manipulated rights so certain groups’ rights come before another’s. This new abuse of language has confused our generation and is distracting us from what makes life full of meaning, purpose and value.

Instead of striving toward achieving goals, which would lead us to a bright future, we focus on living in the moment without regard for consequence. The particular area I want to discuss is the goal of self-improvement. It has all been but demolished from our society’s values.

Changed Values

What we believe is fundamental to how we define ourselves. If you believe you are worthless, you will live a life of hesitation, regret, disappointment, avoidance and insecurity. On the contrary, if you believe you are valuable you will live a life of careful decision making, hope, willingness, goal setting and achievements. And here is where the problem lies: we don’t believe in the things we used to. Many people of present day society have abandoned traditional thought and have been sucked into trendy and vague progressive ideals. As a result, we care more about what we look like, what we have, and what we (supposedly) deserve, than what we are responsible for, and what impact we have on others.

Being Responsible for More than Ourselves

Responsibility is a huge aspect of society that is slipping between the cracks of so-called “rights.” Instead of being responsible for the well-being of others, we fight for what we think is best for ourselves… it’s selfish. Relationships are often perceived as a place where we can have our needs fulfilled, instead of a place where we enter a lifelong commitment with a mutual purpose, grounded in love. Child raising is viewed by some adults in their 20s and 30s as a burden beside their career or personal goals, instead of a life changing opportunity and calling to parent. Our lack of contentment with the money we make for the work we do has made us ungrateful and bitter despite the fact that we live in the wealthiest part of the world. We are so focused on making life good for ourselves… why? I think one reason is because we have forgotten that our lives are temporary. We have too many comforts in the physical state of our life, and now the progressive agenda is to make us comfortable in our ego so we forget about death and consequence and live lives without accountability.

Be Accountable to Ourselves and Others

I believe when we take the time to look at ourselves honestly, or accept criticism from others as a genuine perception of ourselves, we can find ways to solve those problems and rise above them. If we do away with the distractions of entertaining news, trends and social media and focus on our responsibilities as people the world will change. Isn’t that what we want? Sharing our opinions online doesn’t make much difference but being an example to the people we interact with makes a big one. And that can’t happen until we learn to be accountable.

 

SDS

5 Practical Steps to Get Over a Cheater

A statistic published by eHarmony stated about 50% of men and 39% of women cheat in relationships. That’s a huge percentage! The continuous and fast-paced growth of human interaction with the digital world has made cheating more common and easier to do. Obsessing over Facebook photos, sending nude photos over data messaging, and private Instagram messaging are just a few ways that people can sneak around.

I want to share five tips that really helped me come to terms with my breakup to help you move on too and get your confidence back! Healing doesn’t happen overnight and even after you enter a new relationship you may still struggle with negative thoughts, doubts and trust issues, but that’s okay. It takes time and you need to be patient with yourself🙂.

1. Recognize What They Did Was Not Your Fault

You might find thoughts creeping into your mind about what you did wrong, or you might criticize yourself. These thoughts can keep you emotionally chained, which is really not what you want. If your boyfriend/girlfriend is continuously cheating on you, that’s a sign of their character. You must accept the first truth: everyone is responsible for their own actions. They did what they did because they chose to and that’s not your fault.

2. You’re in Control Now

It is not selfish to leave a cheating partner. You might feel like you owe them a second chance, but honey, you don’t! They’ve already broken the foundation of your relationship. Take some time to consider what the future might be like. Ask yourself: “Do I really want to be with someone who isn’t content? Don’t I want someone who is honest and true? Is this broken relationship worth more than a fresh start? How has this anxiety and grief affected my health? Do I want that in my life?” Trust your ability to make your own choices and do what’s right. You may not have control over what happens to you, but you do have control over how you choose to respond.

3. Say Goodbye to Second Chances

It might be really hard to let them go because you’ve invested time, emotions and various efforts into it. Your families might even be involved and that can get really confusing and upsetting. That being said, leftover feelings or not wanting them to be with anyone else, are not good reasons to keep the relationship going. Healthy relationships require mutual hard work and mutual commitment.

Consider what this second chance will mean to them — are they genuinely remorseful and willing to cut this out of their life? Or are they toying with your emotions and shedding tears for a “get out of jail free” card? Remember this decision isn’t up to them — you’ve got the power!

4. Download Healthy Thoughts, Delete Harmful Ones

Letting your negative thoughts run free is a slippery slope and we have all been there once or twice! Your thoughts become your perspective, which affects your actions. Think hopeless thoughts and life will appear dreary and depressing. Depression makes it so hard to get out of sinkholes like this breakup and that’s why you have to choose positive thoughts to meditate on daily. Tell those negative thoughts to SCRAM and throw a party for the nice ones. Make a list, post it on your wall, create an inspiration board, put up pictures of your friends, write a journal about something good you did each day, watch puppy videos, pray with a friend, ask your family members to share a funny story from your childhood… STAY POSITIVE!

 

5. CARPE DIEM!

After I found out what happened all I wanted to do was hide in my room and cry until my tear ducts dried up. But I knew there was nothing I could do to change what happened and sitting around moping for weeks wouldn’t help me move on or feel any better. When you’re at rock bottom, you have nowhere else to go except up. So get up. See your friends, try a new restaurant, watch a TV series with your family, enjoy a musical drive around your neighborhood, dream about the future, pamper yourself, pray every night, talk to people about it, do something kind for a stranger, find a new hobby, listen to different music, remove everything that reminds you of the past and replace it. There are a thousand things you can to do make every day count. Don’t let anyone steal your joy!

Prayer and reconnecting with my true friends helped me a lot. When I started to see my worth through Jesus’ eyes instead of my own, it got a lot easier to look in the mirror. It was invaluable to me to have the love, support, comfort, prayers and guidance of my friends and family. I still have moments where I wrestle with my thoughts but I’m learning that the hardest experiences in life are the ones that shape us the most. I started off as a pretty ball of clay, and after this happened I was mashed up and ugly, but once I accepted that I am a work in progress, I started to appreciate the awkward ridges and grooves. I’m letting go and letting life shape me.

SD

Retreating into Goderich

Last year around this time I went with my sister, her boyfriend and his family for a mini-getaway to Goderich. We stayed at Cedar Lodge and spent the day sight seeing and shopping along the main road. The trees were in full blown sunset shades and I was cozy in my warm knit sweater. It was a tough time in my life but this getaway was the beginning of something.

I purchased a thin leather wrap bracelet with the Serenity prayer on it. I tried to memorize it in my head as we watched the sunset and I prayed for healing and peace. One year later I can truthfully say I have that peace I prayed for — my Heavenly Father cradles me safe in His love and promises. Even though I don’t know what the future will bring, He does, so I choose not to fear it but hope for it.

I don’t think it’s naive to be optimistic, or to dream, or to believe in great, powerful things. Focusing on hope leads us to hope. We go where we look. Sometimes life throws unexpected misfortunes at us and often we sink to unbelievable lows, but that’s not the end of the story.

Turn the page🙂.

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