Challenged

chal·lenge

ˈCHalənj/

noun

  1. an objection or query as to the truth of something, often with an implicit demand for proof.

    "a challenge to the legality of the order"

    synonyms: test, questioning, dispute, stand, opposition, confrontation

The word challenge comes from the Old French chalenge which meant to accuse or dispute. Further back it stems from the Latin calumnia, meaning slander or false accusation. With these roots, it’s no wonder that the natural human reaction to being challenged is to become defensive. Despite this, saying you want to be challenged - whether you mean physically, emotionally, spiritually etc. has become a trendy phrase that flows off the tongue with such ease, that you may say or hear it often - but do you or anyone saying it, really want it? How will you react to it when your views, beliefs, or world view is challenged by someone? How will you react when your brother, your woman or your friend challenges you to be better, to change a behavior, or to defend your beliefs?

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We say we want to be challenged - but our behavior indicates otherwise. All we need to observe to see this pattern is social media. When someone challenges what you’ve written, do you react the way the majority does? I see people talk about being challenged all the time - but when I see those same people have their posts or beliefs challenged - the reaction is usually swift, defensive and visceral. I say this with such certainty...because I am as guilty of it as anyone else - perhaps even more so.

I have often said I want people in my life who challenge me to be better, to think about things differently, to see the world through a different lens. Then I look back at times when people in my life have done that - and my reaction has not always matched my words. Recently someone challenged something I posted - going so far as to call it “ignorant.” My immediate reaction in my head was very negative - and I was on the verge of lashing out at this person - instead, I called on something I had meditated about earlier in the week, about being more receptive to other’s opinions and acting kinder to those around me. I bit my tongue (literally) and I let this person finish what they were saying. Instead of going with my instant, and very emotional reaction - I gave myself time to process what this person said. The perhaps not so shocking result? A positive conversation that lead to more positive conversations. I may not change my mind about what I wrote. I may not see what I wrote in the same way they did - but I did walk away from the conversation with a deeper respect for this person and a deeper understanding of how they see the world based on their own experiences - the same as I have come to view the world based on mine.

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Next time you talk about wanting to be challenged - challenge yourself to be more open-minded. Being kind and receptive to others opinions is not a sign of weakness. Calling people names on the internet as a way to defend your stance, is. You show yourself as insecure and unable to defend your own beliefs- a rude, thoughtless toddler who understands only their emotions and whose actions are all based on the same. Running around social media using hilarious, hypocritical terms like “snowflake” (usually used by someone who freaked out when Nike cast someone they didn’t like in a new commercial, or who posts 18 times a day about whatever political story is causing them anxiety that day.)

My younger brother wrote a tremendous piece on the topic of being rude - it was an Instagram post from earlier this year.

“People who mistake being rude with being tough or some kind of badass - lacking manners and acting in a way that shows no respect or courtesy to those around you doesn’t make you look tough, it doesn’t make you a “savage”...it makes you an asshole.”

To read the entire post (and you should) check out @operationwerewolfofficial and find the post from August 17.

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One thing I have done in the last few months, is to try my best to simply be less rude, both on social media and in real life. I have a reputation as being sort of an asshole (I know a lot of people will more than likely laugh at my use of the term “sort of” here) and I know that I will always have a quicker tongue than a brain. I know that I will always say things that a lot of people may be thinking but might be too afraid to say. These traits do not have to mean that I am rude to people I know or to complete strangers. If your beliefs and worldview prevent you from being kind to other people - you might want to take a hard look at those beliefs - you might want to challenge yourself to look inside, to take an introspective look at why this is the case - or just do what you’ve always done and type “fuck you, you libtard snowflake” the second your opinion is challenged - and continue to live an unremarkable life filled with wasted time and missed opportunities.