Mon. Jun 1st, 2020

Pamela D’Addetta On “What I Learned as a Soap Blogger”

I spent a few years as a soap blogger (unpaid hobby). These are some of the lessons I learned during that time.

Some of it ties into writing, but most of it is about life and how to navigate situations we all find ourselves in. Contrary to the tone of these posts, I truly believe there are more good people in this world than bad. 

Unfortunately, the ones we need to avoid don’t come with labels, making it tricky to know how to spot them and deal with them and the situations we find ourselves in with them. It’s a delicate balance to strike, dealing with those who aren’t always who and what they seem to be while keeping your well-being intact and at the forefront of your thoughts and actions. Life is complicated enough, and these people and situations can make things much rougher on us than they need to be. 

Some of the lessons were irritating, some infuriating, and some were painful. But they were all valuable, and that’s what matters most. 
Growth is often many of these things, but in the end, it’s growth that shapes us into who we’re supposed to be and gives us wisdom we wouldn’t otherwise have. 

1. You’ll never make everyone happy, so don’t bother trying.

The more time you spend concerned with making people happy, trying to please them, the more miserable you’ll be; because there are some who’d much rather be miserable and whine about how miserable they are than lifting a finger to change what’s making them miserable. 

They’re only too happy arguing with those around them about whatever they claim to be so upset about, and happier to nitpick over petty peripheral details that allow those responsible for their upset to continue unabated. So healthy and productive, right?

You’re never going to change them. Instead, change how you respond to them. Don’t. Focus, instead, on what makes you happy. Let go of them and their drama.

2. Petty is part of life, but yowza does it get in the way a lot!

Here’s the thing about peripheral details, petty and otherwise, they get in the way because folks allow them to. People allow the details of situations–I’m talking about minor grievances that can easily be addressed after the issue at hand which those around you claim to be so vexed by have been dealt with–that they waste tonnes of energy yelling at and arguing with each other, and sometimes you, thus getting themselves more worked up and draining you in the process.

No matter how much people claim to want something to change for the better, there are still those who’ll get in their own way, and in yours, effectively halting any process towards change before it begins. Ego, fear, jealousy, bitterness, insecurity; who knows why these fools do what they do? Just don’t fall into that trap, leave the petty where it belongs; in the past.

3. Know the difference between noise and message.

Just like with petty details getting in the way of what you need to focus on to advance your current situation, getting caught up in noise and missing the bigger picture, sometimes we can get caught up in the noise around us and miss the messages that life has for us and the valuable lessons they can teach us. 

It’s a huge and frustrating waste because, along with missing the above, we can end up sitting ducks for others’ manipulation to further their own agendas. I’ve been there, and it’s not only ugly as hell, it’s draining!  Know how to recognize noise so you don’t get caught up in it and can use message(es) to your advantage, whatever that looks like.

4. The voices you hear most often, the ones that are the loudest, aren’t always the ones you need to listen to.

This ties in with knowing what’s noise and what you really need to listen and pay attention to. The people who are the loudest and who pipe up the most often aren’t always the ones you need to listen to. Hell, much of the time they’re not even the ones you should here. They’re the ones who’ll confuse you and pull you away from the people you should be listening to, and thus pull you away from what you should be doing and those you could be learning from! Look for and listen to the people whose messages and actions are consistent, regardless of how much you hear them and how loud they are. Loud isn’t always right!

5. Talk is cheap, watch what happens when the mouths are closed.

It takes nothing to whisper sweet nothings to unsuspecting chumps; don’t be a chump and let anyone take you off a proverbial cliff with them. There are countless people who’ll do just that, if you let them. You deserve better, so listen to what people say, but take it with salt; not at face value. Listen to them and take into account their tone of voice, overall demeanour, as well as their body language when they’re speaking. I realize that it’s impossible to do this online, unfortunately.

Physical clues that will tell you something’s “off” are much more difficult to pick up on there. 

But, whether online, or in real life, you can still listen to what someone says and then observe what happens after that, when they’re not speaking. If what they’ve said and what they’re doing isn’t completely congruent; run don’t walk! Get as far away from these people as you can as fas as you can; anything else just isn’t worth it! Often your intuition will tell you something’s amiss before you can figure it out. Your gut will pick up on something before the rational part of you can discern exactly what it is. Don’t wait around for the brick to hit you upside the head–it isn’t worth the migraine–just cut your losses and find those who are willing to teach you what you need to know to succeed in this life.

They’re out there.

6. What needs to be done isn’t always easy. Do it anyway.

There are plenty of people who value popularity over substance, and at least as many who loathe seeing anyone succeed and gain respect, especially when it means doing something few would even have the courage to even attempt. It enrages them like few other thins do. Let these people stew in their own juices while you do what’s right. We need people who’ll do right, now more than ever!

7. What’s right beats the hell out of what’s popular every single time!

Popularity is fickle, fleeting, and ultimately relies entirely on others; how they view you, what they think about you, how they feel about you, and what they think you can do for them. In other words, in the end it’s useless junk that really has nothing to do with you and from which you’ll gain nothing but migraines and agida (agita); so save yourself the time, energy, and money spent at the pharmacy. Do what’s right and you’ll get what’s, and who’s, right for you!

8. No matter how much some people complain, yell and scream, they’ll still not lift a finger to really address what they claim (and whine) is bothering them so damn much!

Regardless of how much some folks complain and what they say, they’ll never actually do anything to address the source of their upset. They simply expect that by bringing it up as often as humanly possible, someone will magically appear to wave a magic wand and fix it for them. Don’t turn yourself into a human pretzel, leave that for experienced professionals who get paid for it. It’s just not worth the pain.

9. When your gut, intuition, or whatever you want to call it, tells you something’s wrong; listen to it. You’ll thank yourself later.

Like I’ve said before, your intuition knows things well before you do; before you even have a clue. Don’t waste time looking for “proof” of what it’s telling you, that’s a chump’s game, and your no chump. Right? This goes for any and all aspects of life, platonic, professional, or romantic. The worst thing you can do is to wait around until what your intuition told you slaps you in the face and you’re left with a mess to clean up. 

Note: If you or someone you know is being abused, in whatever form, you need a plan to get out of the situation safely. That requires professional help. That’s another issue entirely. I’m talking about the times we can’t put our fingers on something that’s bugging the hell out of u, so we ignore it and let it fester until it blows up, leaving us with a giant mess to clean up. That’s just not worth the aggravation or the pain, we all deserve better, we all deserve more. So don’t do it to yourself.

10. In the end, you can count on very few people. Best count on yourself first.

People will gladly sidle up to you by the dozens if they think you’ll be their puppet, that they can get what they want from you without you being any the wiser. And, they’ll do it even faster and in greater numbers unless you can spot them coming before they open their mouths. 

Too many folks won’t hesitate to use you and toss you aside like a rag before moving on to the next poor sucker. Don’t be the sucker. Don’t give scumbags the chance to smile in your face before they drive a knife through your back. Count on yourself first, last, always. 

Because in the end, you are the only person you can truly count on.

11. Text, context, subtext, and pretence. Learn the difference, know the difference, and you’ll save yourself so much trouble!

This list of writing terms doubles as a blueprint for assessing situations that don’t feel right, but you’re not sure why. 

Text is what’s most obvious and isn’t necessarily all that deep. It can be used to trick and obfuscate, so exercise caution. It’s like the text on a page. Sure, you see it, or feel it, if you’re using brain, hear it, if you’re suing speech technology.

But, you don’t really get much out of it until you take a closer look. You certainly don’t have a complete picture or any real sense of the situation and people you’re looking at simply based on the “text.” And, it can throw you off because it’s all about what’s going on on the surface of the situation.

Context is where the analysis starts. Each situation, like a scene in a book or a tv show, is part of a larger story arc and a complete story. Nothing happens in a bubble, sometimes we need to step back to see the full context of a situation before we get too caught up in details.

Especially since getting caught up in the wrong ones can mean you get taken advantage of or otherwise hurt.

Subtext…it takes a lot to figure out, like one of Shakespeare’s plays, but once you do you’ll know how to approach the situation and deal with those whose goal is seeing you fail.

It’s what stories and situations are really about, once you get past the first layer of “window dressing” aka the text. This is what some may not want you to figure out. In fact,there are those who’ll go to astounding lengths to keep you from figuring it out. It’s what’s really going on in a situation or story, what people are really after.

Whatever obstacles they throw at you, keep your eyes on the prize. The truth is, they need you to get distracted by text, ignore context and finally give up so they can reach their goals.

Pretence this is the myriad of tricks people will play, lies they’ll tell to ensure you don’t figure out what they’re up to and ruin their plans. Regardless of what those plans are, don’t fall for their lines and trickery. Pretend is seldom simple, in fact in my experience, it’s usually quite elaborate.

But, it always falls apart upon analysis. So take the time to analyze and you’ll find out what you really need to know to avoid a whole lot of trouble!

This philosophy has served me well over the years, I hope you get as much out of it as I have.

12. Courage comes in many forms. So does cowardice.

Sometimes you need to be the one to speak up, even if you’re the only one. Chances are you’re not the only one who sees an issue and wants it meaningfully addressed and resolved, you’re just the only one with the courage to say so.

Speaking up ensures at least two things, hopefully three. You find others who feel the same and can therefore figure out how to draw attention to the issue you want addressed, you may find a group of likeminded people you can learn and gain support from, and you may succeed at bringing meaningful change to the situation.

Then there’s the other side of the coin. As with many things, you’ll find that sometimes, though they’ll complain about things nonstop, some will simply disappear when the work has to be put in. They’ll feed you all the lines about completely agreeing with what you’re doing and your criticisms being valid.

They’ll even flat out tell you they agree with said criticisms. But, they’ll still be nowhere around when the going gets the least bit tough. Most of the time it’s because they’re too bloody worried about how they’ll look to others and how their words and actions will be interpreted.

Being courageous doesn’t mean being loud for the sake of it. It means having the gumption to say and do what needs to be said and done regardless of how popular it is and what others may say or do. It also means being quiet listening to others, even when you don’t agree with them. I failed to do that more times than I can count.

Listening is hard when you feel like you’re the only one putting in the work.Staying quiet and learning about the situation, people and dynamics involved, all the details you need to know so you can effectively manage and navigate it is essential and just plain sensible.

But, staying quiet for its own sake, while popular, especially right now, is the coward’s way out. It ensures that nothing really changes, especially not meaningfully, and therefore ensures that those who should be held accountable aren’t, giving them a free pass to continue malicious and potentially harmful behaviour.

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Written By: Pamela D’Addetta, Contributor

Photographs are Courtesy:   CBS; JPI Studios; NBC; ABC

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