Not often when I meditate on Wednesday mornings, do I receive a word I don’t want to work with. However, today was one of those days. At first, when the word began to slide into my awareness, I thought I was getting the word chastity, and I laughed. Immediately I asked, “Why chastity?” Then, I recognized the word was actually chastise and laughed again. Not only at my misunderstanding the message being delivered, also at my immediate chastising of perceived message. Then I asked myself why I was so quick to push back. The answers surprised me, at first. Since I know my heart and so does God, I was quickly assured the negative warning in my head was just in my head. Yet, my heart told me differently. The push back was no one wants to be told they are wrong. I am known for my positive, upbeat messages. I had to be reminded I am also known for truth, authenticity and transparency. So here we go…
When I meditate on Wednesday mornings, sometimes I have to ask for a word. Even when I ask, I don’t always get one. Sometimes, if I am stumped about what to write, I’ll ask my husband for a word. Just a word, no insight. I need it strike a chord within me. Before I take the task of writing the blog I design the art. It usually helps me with needed imagery to form my thoughts. As I perused the royalty-free stock photos for something to go with chastise, I realized I could fill up 1000 or more blocks and not cover the sum of the word. I also am quite mindful, or purposefully attempt to make my imagery diverse. And, while searching for imagery it dawned on me I could be chastised if I use an image of a Black person and the word chastise, before anyone read a word. Then, when I continued to search, I thought, I could as easily be chastised for not using a Black person’s image, and the same could be said regardless of race of the person in the imagery I choose. Though God and myself know my heart to be anything but racist, in these moments this morning, while searching stock photos, I began to question how I might be viewed. I chastised myself before anyone else could, or even might.
This made me realize, as society, we tend to chastise what we know nothing about. I had no idea what would happen, but perception gave me pause. We let fear and ego lead our perception, which distorts reality. There are a lot of opinions about how people feel other people should live. They chastise them, not just cowardly, behind a keyboard, but blatantly, and outwardly, in the general public, when they know NOTHING about said person or their circumstances. Yet, hatred, bigotry and violence reign in a world where I work to cultivate peace.
Now, I feel strongly about a lot of things. I, too, have opinions about how life should look. I feel I am mature enough and experienced enough of life to have rational discussions about tough subjects and agree to disagree. Not everyone can. I look at myself as an optimistic realist. However, in my life, I have been shamed and chastised by a former supervisor for being “too positive” – and told, “The difference between a positive person and a realist is the realist has life experience.” The audacity of this person to pass judgment on my good mood! Sadly, it happens. Some people like misery or get delight watching people they perceive as underlings, squirm.
I don’t always maintain compassion over composure. I am passionate about my stance, at times and I will fight for the best outcome for the majority of the people. That being said, as a business owner, I understand the need to open America. But I have said it before; not one dollar is worth one life. No one should be considered expendable.
People I consider very good friends chastise me. We have had discussions and agree to disagree their opposition to me wearing a mask to protect myself or at least feel like I am doing all I can to help myself be well. Somehow, in a matter of two months, we have a slew of medical mask experts with no medical background. I have medical professionals in my family who have varying degrees of opinions on wearing a mask, how long, etc. Everyone has an opinion about how everyone should live. It is no more anyone’s business today than it was in 2019. Do you. Wear a mask. Don’t wear a mask. I will until I feel I don’t need nor want to. But do not go into establishments where they have a mask protocol and demand your face be naked because it is your constitutional right. Go home. Actually read the constitution, then perhaps, stay home. I choose to do what I feel is best for me, and I do so with my doctor’s advice. Did I just chastise? Yes, yes I did.
Society chastised and condemned far before COVID-19 began. We will likely find something else to chastise and condemn after this, too. The majority of the population has never experienced a global pandemic. How is it we all know so much in such a short time about something we never experienced before? Don’t waste your time fighting over who is more wrong. Do what is best for you, for your family. You know those needs better than anyone. Rest assured, when you need more professional input there are professionals out there who have only read about this in text books. Just because they are doctors or nurses, they too have never experienced a global pandemic before. They too are doing their best to provide you with the best care they know how. And at the end of the day, when they return to their families, they are human beings under their masks. Just like you. Remember that before you chastise them for following a protocol and work under circumstances they have never experienced.
At the end of the day, was it worth it? Was your need to be right worth more than someone else’s self-worth? Does your opinion have merit or is it just an opinion? Know this: just because you do not understand something, are afraid of something or perceive something to be true, doesn’t mean it is. Before you chastise or apprise– realize… every finger you point, three more point back at you. You perfect yet? No? Me neither.