I’ve been thinking a lot about the post, “I Didn’t Love My Wife When We Got Married.” The truth is, it’s been hard for me to let go of. I keep wondering, “What made this one popular? It’s not so different from other posts. What did it?”
And there are a bunch of answers that come to mind. It’s a topic people care about. It’s a universal topic. It’s something people want some new answers to.
Could be all those things. Probably is, and more.
But just as Yom Kippur prayers were starting (I’m sorry I wasn’t more focused!), something hit me: there was one thing in that post that, if it wasn’t there, if it was different, the post never would have been as popular as it was.
And that’s the end. Specifically, how I worded the end.
At the end of that post I say, “Those people deserve better. We all deserve better.”
To me, that’s the part that changes everything.
We’re used to a different style of writing these days, especially in blogs. Writing that says something like, “This is what’s wrong! And it’s your fault! Or it’s this guy’s fault! Either way, it’s someone’s fault!”
I write like that sometimes. Especially when I’ve discussed negative bloggers (oh, the irony). And it’s resulted in “impressions” and “engagement” and “discussions”. All the fancy, marketing-blogging buzzwords. Things people in this world inherently assume to be good things.
I easily could have written my love post in a similar manner. I was tempted to. But something hit me as I was writing it: this idea that “love is a verb” was something so many of us aren’t even aware of. It’s never even had a chance to mature in our minds. Why would I berate people for that? I fell for it too.
So I made a conscious decision to write it differently at that point. And I think that if I had done it any differently, it wouldn’t have had the effect it had. I think the people that would have already agreed with me would’ve said, “Hellz yeah!” and share the post. And the people that hadn’t learned this idea before would comment, and kick their feet in the dust, and get angry.
And I would’ve, thus, gotten my “impressions” and my “engagement”.
But nothing would’ve changed. No one would have changed. I’d pat myself on the back for “getting a discussion going” and gone on with my life.
Writing, art, creation, is at its best when it changes people. When it gets them to look at the world in a different way.
And that’s something so many bloggers theses days forget. Something they’ve let go of in favor of the buzzwords.
I once got in a debate with someone about blogging and writing. He said that some people needed to be berated for having messed up beliefs. I said to him, “The only way you change people is by respecting them.”
And at the time, I really meant it. But shortly after that, I wrote posts that didn’t do that. Posts that attacked negative bloggers, that turned Jewish blogging, and blogging in general, into an us vs. them discussion.
And so, that day, Yom Kippur, as we were going into praying, I realized that this is something I need to ask forgiveness for. I realized that this is why the post became popular: I need to learn this lesson. I need to not just say that I respect people, but to actually respect them. Even if they hurt me, degrade my writing, etc. Even if I don’t agree with them.
No one was changed with those posts I wrote. No one was elevated.
I feel that Pop Chassid is about to start a new journey. A new stage. Not just because of the increased attention, which really only lasts for a short time, but because I want this blog to remind people that it is through respect, through expressing ourselves in a way that unites (as opposed to divides), that we can really change people.
And in the end, I would rather change one person than get a billion people “talking”. Talk is cheap. Engagement is cheap.
A soul changed lasts forever.