What’s wrong with some encouragement every now and then?

Believe in yourself (click to embiggen)

Believe in yourself (click to embiggen)

I made a disparaging remark about myself the other day, and my friend, Jeri Lynn declared, “Stop making fun of my friend Gene!” Which turned into a brief discussion of the differences between the way we treat other people, the things we will put up with other people saying about our friends and loved ones, and the ways we treat ourselves.

It also made me think of a conversation I had a week or so earlier where one of my friends made a comment about people who never seem to like anything. It’s a phenomenon I see all the time: someone claims to be a Doctor Who fan, let’s say, but they never, ever seem to have anything good to say about any episode of the show we discuss. Never. It makes one wonder why they keep watching, right?

I know I criticize all sorts of things. Particularly real world things, such as the current spate of laws trying to ban trans people from public bathrooms. And I can go on a bit of a rant about the poor storytelling choices that certain studios seem to be making because they completely misunderstand why some of their rivals are making money hand-over-fist with a similar type of movie.

It’s easy, sometimes, to rant about things that aren’t working or to raise awareness on things that are causing problems for people we care about. In the course of all that advocacy against various injustices and heartaches, it can be hard to remember that there’s a lot of good in our lives. And sometimes that good is entangled in the bad.

This is the whole reason I set myself a goal a while back about decreasing my outrage. And then gave myself the specific task of setting myself a minimum number of posts each month that will just be about things I like. Most months I made that goal. I missed it last month. I will place some of the blame on Camp NaNoWriMo and some of the blame on the unexpected death in the family (and the fallout therefrom) and let it go. Just as it isn’t good to rant about bad things all the time, it isn’t good to berate myself for missing an arbitrary goal every now and then.

There are a lot of really cool people in my life. I’ve had the joy of reading and watching a lot of good storytelling during the last year or so. I’m looking forward to quite a bit more. This Friday we’re going to see the new Captain America movie with some friends. The week after that we’re attending EverfreeNW, where I expect to see a lot of wonderful and happy people enthusing about a kids’ cartoon series. The same weekend I’m attending a musical (The Mystery of Edwin Drood) with a couple of friends, and watching a very talented and awesome teen-ager of my acquaintance playing one of the roles. Next month we’re attending the Locus Awards weekend (my first time) which I expect will be fun (it includes a banquet where one of my favorite authors will be MC-ing, a bunch of books and stories will receive awards, and there’s an Aloha Shirt competition! What could be sillier and cooler than that?).

Flowers are blooming all over my neighborhood. People are writing interesting stories, drawing cute and wonderful art—and we get to read and look at a bunch of it!

I’ve been trying to remind myself, whenever I look at a web comic, or a posted story, or even just a cute observation on someone’s tumblr, to click the “Like” or “♡” (heart) or “✩” (star) or whatever option the particular web service gives us for telling the person who posted it that we appreciated it. Because posting things takes time and effort. And if it made us chuckle, or nod in agreement, or smile, or just feel a little less worried about things even for a moment, we should let the person know.

Because it isn’t easy for some people to believe in themselves. And they don’t always have a friend sitting nearby to come to their defense when they feel discouraged.


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About fontfolly

I've loved reading for as long as I can remember. I write fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and nonfiction. I used to publish an anthropomorphic sci-fi/space opera literary fanzine. I attend and work on the staff for several anthropormorphics, anime, and science fiction conventions. I live near Seattle with my wonderful husband, still completely amazed that he puts up with me at all.

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