Yeah, its easier said than actually doing. But if you are happy to your core, then it is a lot easier to live it out.
I run into a lot of toxic personalities in my life; especially on social media. Its so strange how joyful they appear when you see them in person. But in the darkness of their minds, somehow they feel its ok to spew hatefulness online. I see it a lot on Instagram (IG). Although, the people who I know in person make up a very small percentage of people I follow online. People stay mostly tame on IG since clicking the unfollow is super easy to do. And yes, I’ve done that to people who are overly political or just plain mean. I’ve also unfollowed people for being super negative. Any “-ism” is something I run from. Especially, all these “-isms” that people cry about these days.
I take this quickly back to my upbringing in Kansas. Nobody had -isms out there. In fact, if someone said something silly or other-worldly back home, they’d look at you like you were some strange meteor that ended up in their backyard. For people who are up at the crack of dawn to tend to the farm, meaningless chatter is the furthest from their minds. For someone who swings a hammer every day, worrying about what to wear is useless. That’s the problem, sometimes we have so much time on our hands that we make up things to feel sad about. Its just not how I was raised.
To take this even further, I remember a Master Sergeant (E-8) who led an Infantry Scout unit when I was in the Army. I mean, I was an ex-Drill Instructor and I was a pretty hard guy. One of my troops, after knowing me for several years, finally asked me what my first name was. I told him “Sergeant”. I rarely let my guard down around these guys. But I am a compassionate, sympathetic person at times and some of those feelings probably leaked out now and then. But this Master Sergeant was way worse than me. You leave a helmet in the wrong place around him and you’d be doing pushups. You ask the wrong question? Pushups! You had to be on top of your game around him. Now, I was a respected Sergeant First Class (E-7), so he had no authority over me. But he still gave off this aura. I wouldn’t dare ask him about what kind of Latte he liked, or what his Zodiac sign was, or his favorite model of Birkenstocks. I’d probably owe him some pushups for that kind of nonsense. But honestly, I’m not that hard. I never was, even when I was a Drill Sergeant. I was like an intelligent tornado.
The funny thing, people on Facebook (FB) are 10x worse than on IG. For some reason, I think FB friends assume that we all think alike. So they think its OK to preach to the choir when it comes to politics and social issues. You have to admit, they aren’t swaying opinion among people who think the same. But many of my friends are Yogis, bodyworkers, and people who enjoy the softer things in life. So they tend to lean one way, when I often lean the other. So they spew out their hatred and toxicity a lot on FB. The great thing about FB is that you can hide their evil sources of where they get their memes and talking points. But sometimes, there are too many to hide. So you have no choice but to unfollow that person.
I really feel sorry for people who live in such despair every day of their lives. They must wake up in a bad mood every morning. Then they put on a happy face when they are around people. But then they get on IG and never smile. There isn’t sunshine or roses. There’s only self pity and hatred for others. If you can’t love yourself, you can never love others. Its cliche but its true. I unfollowed someone on all their social media because they never smiled. One day I asked them to smile more. That led to a backlash about patriarchy and her Daddy treating her wrong. And this “friend” totally bent me the wrong way. I really enjoyed this person when she lived in town. I’d say we were good friends. But her social media was always dark. She only wanted to be pitied. Her happy face when I saw her was always a false front. I feel bad for her. But I don’t put up with drama. I don’t condone self-pity when you have tools to find value in yourself. I don’t drift into a person’s darkness with them. I’d rather draw them into the light.
I have friends who are yoga teachers. These are people others look up to. I always enjoyed their classes and I considered them mentors of mine. But the darkness they’ve felt in their past eventually takes over. They end up having trouble with relationships. And then they blame all of that on men. They say—
“don’t call me beautiful! I know I’m beautiful. Say something about my intelligence. But don’t say it in a way that you’re man-splaining to me. And be positive. But I can see through your fake s#$t. So don’t do that.”
—Haha, what can anyone do against all that negativity? I mean, these are people who are supposedly following yogic principles. But there isn’t anything yogic about them except that they can do poses. Yay, they’ve mastered the 3rd limb of Ashtanga. But they tossed the rest out the window. I really don’t get it.
Be happy? Its easy for some of us. But for those of us who know true happiness, we also have to shield ourselves from the Dark Side. They say one negative person can drain the energy out of a group of people. I believe that to be true. Yes, we need to help people. But when they stop refusing your help, you have to let them go. Otherwise, you’ll get sucked into the darkness with them. You’ll start being a victim just like they do. “Everybody is out to get me. The world is so mean to me. Oh my!!!” —- We can’t live like that.
Instead, find your independence. Stand on your own two feet. Take responsibility for your own actions. Major in the majors and don’t let the little stuff get you down. The founder of Rocket Yoga said “you are stronger than you think”. This is the truth. If you find challenges that make you stronger, do those things to make you stronger. Stand on the podium in front of everyone. Let them know how happy you are and how you are bound to succeed. That’s what we should do. If you’re a yoga teacher, walk the walk. Don’t just say frilly alliterations that amount to lipstick on a pig. Actually say what you mean. Make the root of everything happiness. Then your happiness will spread to others. That’s what we want out of yoga or anything we do anyway. We want happiness in our lives.