Why do I share stuff? Why do I write blog posts like this and put things on social media?
Am I trying to change people’s minds? Do I want to influence people? Am I trying to GET something from them?
Yes, this is probably true on some level, but more than anything I think it’s about expression. I want to share – for ME, because that’s my way of connecting with other people. I’m speaking to the people that want to hear what I’m saying, either because they already believe what I believe, or are open and interested in what I’m saying.
I’m not posting to start a fight. Can you imagine if every interaction in-person was like an angry Facebook debate? Things don’t usually go that way in real life! We usually seek out and want to have enjoyable conversations where we feel a connection with the person we’re talking to.
So when I’m sharing my experience and my beliefs, I’m doing it for me, and for the people that want to hear it – and so THEY know that they are not alone.
It’s not about telling people what they should do or that they are wrong. Instead, I want to just share my experience. Not because I know something but because I’ve lived something. And you can’t argue with experience. You can point out that it doesn’t measure up against your own experience, but that doesn’t minimize my own experience – my own truth. We have to allow people to think the way they think. And if I did want to try to change the way someone thinks, it’s not gonna happen by yelling at them. We need to connect first.
For me, the simple practice of slowing down, being more present, and creating space between thoughts has caused a shift in my perspective. I realize why I’m compelled to share what I share – it’s to feel connected to other people.
And if my true desire is to help people, I know my chances are much better if I start from a place of connection, so that people lean in and WANT to hear more from me. This can be such a subtle thing. I’m not trying to confirm that I’m right, pandering for comments and likes, it’s more about feeling connected, so we all feel less alone.
I think the main point, what I need to remember, is that there’s a real person looking at the screen at the other end, reading the post I’m sharing. And deep down we have more commonalities, as human beings, than we have differences.
PS – My wife, Heather Prescott Liebensohn and I just released a song called “Contagious” which actually inspired this post!