What We Do with Our Dissent

I love this quote from Carlos Castaneda, “We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”

Like so many, I’m sadden by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. When someone who has deeply inspired you and has made your world better passes away, sadness is a genuine and appropriate human emotion.

It is, however, what we do with profound sadnesses that really matters. Yes, feel it. Feel it deeply. And then, it’s time to do the work of making our world better. Our corner of the world. Whatever that may mean to us personally.

The key is to do something. The key is to care. And to try. Children are watching us. Other adults are watching us. They are watching how we are reacting to what happens to us and what is happening in our world. They are influenced by what we choose to do. How we choose to respond.

And when you think about it that way, there are no small decisions. Every decision is necessary and bold. As engineer, Megan Smith, has said, “Have the courage to try. That’s how the greatest things have happened.”

Whether it’s having the courage to take on a difficult conversation, walk away from what’s not serving you, or make a decision that is right but controversial in the eyes of others, stay the course.

If no one is pushing back. If no one is uncomfortable. If we are not uncomfortable…then, we probably aren’t workong in anything that really matters.

No matter what it is, when your truest self, most honest and biggest, bravest self is compelling you, listen and do that thing. As Brene Brown has said, “Do not think you can be brave with your life and your work and never disappoint anyone. It doesn’t work that way.”

Approval in the eyes of others does not measure personal success. Let’s be brave enough to disappoint people. To stand for something. Making this world a better place requires a big heart and bold action.

Show up. Stand up. Speak up. Lead up.

And let’s not forget lessons learned from Justice Ginsburg. We can do it with integrity and grace. We can do it in a way that brings others together instead of pulling them a part. “Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Stay close to what inspires you. Take action. Do it with grace. Miserable or strong, the amount of work is the same.

It’s what we do with our dissent that really matter in the end.

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