“Authenticity combined with joy may arouse contempt.”

I heard that title quote while listening to a YouTube video produced by a woman I had never heard of before reading a review of her book on Hearthrose’s blog. I am still contemplating much of it, so don’t take this as an endorsement of her positions. I don’t agree with everything she says. In fact I could pick quite a few nits with some of it. But that quote?  It resonated with me in a very deep way.

The life experiences I have gathered in more than 40 years of life has provided glaring evidence of the validity of this statement. I need my girls to understand, as they so often find themselves out of step with much of this culture’s dark, dead understanding of what life is all about, that the contempt they encounter is more about the ones offering it than it is about them. It could just as easily mean they are doing things right as that they are doing anything wrong. In fact, in this current era, the former is likely a much better bet than the latter. As with all things of course, get with some worthy of  your trust to help you figure out which if you’re not sure.

Whether in “real” or pixel life, it has taken me the better part of the last 25 years to finally -and hopefully completely- get over people’s nonsensical need to criticize, jab, nit pick, and denigrate others for no other reason than the desire to exercise their fantasy power over the way others live their lives and use, or not use, their voice. It might be painfully hard for those who know me only through this medium to appreciate, but yes. I have been treated to contempt for NOT using my voice.

Here’s the thing though, and it’s been said here before. The list of people to whom we should offer that kind of power, the power to influence our voice, peace, or joy is such a short list! Think about that for a minute. If you are not a leader of a large group of people in an official or spiritual capacity, how many people possess authority or have earned the right to say “Don’t do this”, or “You shouldn’t think that”, or “You shouldn’t say this, that, or the other”?  I’d wager very few.

Unfortunately, our culture has trained us to be ego chasers (borrowed that one from the YouTube lady), provided the tools to do so, and encouraged us to track the worth of our lives or lack thereof based on the opinions of strangers. This actually robs us of the ability to be real. We live our lives looking in the mirror, if not physically, then metaphorically, but we’re always looking.

Many people look at their life reflected and hate what they see. Rather than fix it, they find someone else to drag through the mud, which  does nothing to improve their state of mind or personal situation. It does however, provide just enough distraction and entertainment value that they can -for a little while at least- ignore how much they aren’t doing to improve their lot in life.

Opt out of that craziness. Opt out of that insanity, and doing so doesn’t necessarily mean going off grid like Esther Emery and her family. It will require however, that as we live more real lives, with real accountability, and experience real joy, that we be prepared to ignore the voices of those who do not matter. That we grow thick skins without developing a hard heart. It’s easier to do that if you recognize from the outset:

“Authenticity combined with joy may arouse contempt.”



6 thoughts on ““Authenticity combined with joy may arouse contempt.””

  1. Yes this. YES this.

    I get a lot of contempt when I am my most joyful. It’s like people can’t put “smart” and “joyful” in the same box. They just won’t fit. Letting go of other people’s assumptions about me is important for me if I’m to keep growing as a person.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s like people can’t put “smart” and “joyful” in the same box. They just won’t fit.

    Well the post modern consensus seems to be that joy can only exist within the context of utter obliviousness about how messed up this world is. In other words, if you had any kind of a brain, there is no way you could be joyful.

    Sadly, many Christians hold to this view as well. I find it interesting. Although I lack that whole golden retriever type of joy you exude, I find that it’s a matter of personal choice to dwell on the beautiful, to seek it out, to embrace the joys of those things which we humans in our flesh suits were created to enjoy.

    So for me, something as simple as delight -or relief, take your pick- at my kids’ sound choices, or unabashed willingness to say that I am in love with my husband after 23 years, or simple acknowledgment of the rich yet undeserved blessings we enjoy can leave hearers unsure of what to do with that.

    And for me, it’s sans bubbly because I don’t do bubbly. I am more matter of fact, but unless you’re expressing some degree of angst, dissatisfaction or complaint, people really aren’t all that interested in you- at best.

    Or maybe I really am just a crashing bore because my man doesn’t seem to have this problem, LOL.


  3. And yes, ultimately letting go of other people’s assumptions, and giving them no weight, is the only path to growth.

    In my case, I can thank the Internet for forcing me into that space in such a way that I was able to incorporate it easier among those I know and who know me in flesh and blood life.


  4. Most of the stuff in my life that causes me angst is stuff I can’t change. And anyway, it would take 5 hours to give you enough back-story so you’d have a clue (without jumping to conclusions) if I DID want to vent. Why should I focus on that? I don’t like being Eeyore. I like being happy. I *work at it*.

    Like today. I knew my solitude and wilderness tanks were just about empty, so after the kids got dropped off to school, I took half an hour and sat at the beach. It’s good for me to do that. God sent dolphins for me to bounce and squeal at (I always feel specially blessed when I get to see dolphins) right before I headed home.

    I could look at this experience a few ways – my tanks are definitely not refilled. The tide was high enough that walking along the beach wasn’t optional, I didn’t have the “perfect time at the beach”. I could resent my time for not being perfect. I could say, “well, you see dolphins at the beach in the winter fairly often, big whoop, I only got one bad photo of them…” I could feel guilty because I have access to the beach, and not mention it or not go, because not everyone can go. I could have felt guilty about that half hour away from the laundry, and not gone. Nope. My choice was the choice to go, the choice to be joyful, the choice to be thankful, the choice to enjoy what I’ve been given. I fit it into a busy day … because that’s the woman I want to be.


  5. I completely agree, as most of the things in my life that are *thorns* if you will, are here to stay. Not going an.y.where, so I enjoy the things I have to enjoy.

    It’s interesting that you posted about your beach run because before I took the time to listen to those youtube videos, I was about to post some pics from our blueberry picking excursion on yesterday. Perfect weather, and so much fun. Picked 7 pounds of blueberries, with another family (friends of ours), and I didn;t even ruin the ice cream parlor run afterward by being all New Year’s diet-y..

    Because this year is one where I am looking for balance (I’m either usually *doing* or *being* when the ideal is to be able to be as as I do) I expect I’ll post quite a few being and beauty moments.

    ‘Cause it’s my blog and I can do what I want to, LOL.

    Liked by 2 people

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