Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Don't Be A Jerk

I’ve been scouring the internet trying to soak up useful information for writers. 

I have found at least a handful of forums where you can share your writing and get feedback from other writers.  When I read thru the rules and conduct, there is usually something about giving and receiving feedback.  After the part where they say ‘don’t be a jerk,’ most of them point out that this is a two-way-street.  If you want constructive criticism and feedback, you have to be willing to spend time giving your two-cents as well.  Very few writers will donate opinions and offer up suggestions, unless you have indicated that you can do the same.  It makes sense.  I scratch your back, you scratch mine.

It occurred to me today that this applies in all areas of life.  You can’t expect people to be showering your Facebook account with nice little messages and liking your status if you stick to stalking people and rarely comment on anything.  We can’t expect our friends to be real with us if we aren’t real with them.  I can’t expect my husband to lovingly wrap his arms around me when he comes home from work if I’ve been too busy to smile at him for the last 3 days.

I’m not talking about idealism.  I’m talking about real life.  I’m talking about reality and reasonable expectations of others.  It takes hard work to build up relationships that will pay dividends.  Listening and encouraging and taking a couple of minutes out of a busy day.  Being considerate, remembering a prayer request.  Realizing that I’m not the center of the universe and my problems are not the only game in town right now. 

It was a good reminder for me today when I put 2 and 2 together.  Despite my previous life as an English teacher, I’m hesitant to offer my thoughts on a stranger’s writing.  My insecurities are an issue I have to get over.  But probably it has as much or more to do with my selfish tendencies.  I’d much rather work on my own stuff.  I’d much rather talk about myself.  I’d much rather dwell on ME.

The truth is we are human.  We all want something for nothing, at least every once in a while.  Today I’m going to pray that that I can be a better listener, and more aware of my fellow human beings (especially the one I sleep next to).  I’m going to pray for reasonable expectations.  And then I’m going to join a writer’s forum and see if I can be of use to someone like me.  It just makes sense.  

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