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  • Nan Russell

But ... what are you for?

“I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there.” ― Mother Teresa

My local paper has a call-in line with a sampling of reader comments published daily. While occasionally there’s a thank you for an act of kindness, most are in the against-it camp, even suggesting, at times, those who disagree should “move to another planet.”

Being against-it, whatever “it” is has burrowed like a toxic vine deep into our cultural mindset, modeled with fervor in the political arena. Even before an idea makes a debut, opposing pundits rail against whatever might be considered. But before finger-pointing gets the better of us, consider that the against-it road is alive in most communities, workplaces, organizations, schools, and homes, too.

Being against something is so much easier; even easier still when you can just repost or “like” something. No thinking required. That’s because when we follow the against-it path, we don’t have to be in the spotlight, voice what we believe or offer a solution. We can denounce, blame, or identify shortcomings with like-minded followers, friends, or family without ever risking getting pushback of our own by offering ideas or engaging in meaningful dialogue about alternatives.

It may seem like semantics, but it’s not. The difference between being for something versus against something is significant. Being for something requires backbone, independent thinking, and an integration between who we are and how we operate. When we’re for something, we work towards what we want to bring about or contribute to, and that shifts our personal accountability, energy, and commitment.

What I’ve come to know for myself is this: Being in the against-it camp holds me down, limits my passion, narrows my ideas, and stunts my contributions. But when I tap a bit of soul-courage and work for something I believe in, want to bring about or positively contribute to, there is a palpable shift. It not only feels different; it is different.

What about you? What are you for? What do you aspire to bring about in your life? Be for that. What do you value? Be for that. What do you want more of in your family, workplace, community, country, planet? Be for that.


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