Today, I’m going to take what may feel like a sharp left turn and talk about the process, not a topic. Lately, I’ve tackled some really heavy topics, and I want to be honest and transparent about my approach to this work.
If you take nothing else away from this, please understand that I am keenly aware of my limitations. I am one solitary human with a single lived experience. But I’d like to add some meaning and goodness to my corner of the world which is why I continue to chip away at the tough, messy, sometimes-controversial stuff.
And sometimes, this endeavor feels nothing short of sisyphean.
Most topics of any substance are too big for any one blog post. In an effort to keep it short — because who really wants a novel for a blog post? — something important is always going to get left out.
There will be those who believe that what’s missing is the important part. And because it went unsaid, they’ll think, perhaps, a) the author doesn’t know what they are talking about (because if they did they would have said it) or b) the author doesn’t believe that point, and therefore they’re an idiot.
Either of those may be true of me — and, at times, are true of me — but it’s also likely that all that needed to be said simply couldn’t be encompassed in a mere 1,000 words.
Herein lies the point of my writing. Articles like these aren’t conclusions, they’re starting points. They aren’t designed so a passive reader can make snap judgments about why I’m right or wrong — I’m both. They’re designed for thoughtful readers to be sparked into thinking — sometimes bigger, maybe differently, but most importantly expansively. Note: I didn’t say, “like me.”
It’s been said that even the worst or most disagreeable ideas can have upwards of 10% truth and value. My goal is for my readers to find things in my writing that they can agree with, think about, pause and ponder, and build on, rather than wholesale, all-or-nothing agreeing or disagreeing and shutting down — leaving us no better off than we were before.
I don’t write because I’m right (plenty have kept me humbly aware of that truth). I write because I think and I feel, and I am attempting to inspire growth and consideration in ways that perhaps the reader hasn’t considered before. And as I get more courageous to take on more serious topics, I get nervous and worried that it will harm my career and my work — because some might disagree and write me off.
But then again, I suppose that is the point of my work: To challenge people.
As a coach, my opinion doesn’t matter. My questions and observations aren’t designed to tell you what to think, they’re designed to get you to think. They’re meant to push against your beliefs and to challenge you to evolve those beliefs to the next level — to verify with additional support or to modify them because what you thought you thought no longer aligns with your values, goals, or intentions. Or to evolve because as you learn, think, or feel something new, you have the courage to change.
Together, whether we like it or not, whether we agree with each other or not, we are building a society. Whether we are conscious about it and making deliberate choices or not, we’re creating it.
And how we see one another matters. Our judgment of others without considering the fuller picture matters. The language we use matters. So what’s the matter? Are we not yet evolved enough as a species to listen to one another respectfully — especially those we disagree with — and learn something?
In my last post, I wrote about the crisis of police suicide. When it comes to police, I personally think that when we start caring for their mental health in a more serious and holistic way, it will have a ripple effect in helping to solve a host of other issues across our society. That fear for their life or the safety of others that shapes some of their most difficult decisions made in a flash of a moment is the same fear we use to hate one another, to annihilate others on social media, to drive wedges instead of lifelines.
Mental health seems to be our weakest societal link. A lack of attention on mental health is why 180 officers took their own lives in 2022, nearly three times the number shot and killed in the line of duty. If we can make a life-saving difference in the mental health of cops, perhaps we can do the same for the rest of us.
Thanks for sticking with me through the tough stuff. Take care of yourselves. And look out for one another.
If you or someone you know might be struggling with suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm, you can call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-8255, or chat online at 988lifeline.org. Or text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.