Why The Love Post Was Popular

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.

  • Dana_Britt

    “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.” …. AaaMEN! I’m awed…this is what I’ve been thinking but didn’t quite have a concise, powerful way of saying it. You nailed it!

  • Dash

    Good advice. This is an idea I’m always going back to. You can get off track of respecting people easily. Sometimes it feels so good to prove someone wrong instead of having a genuine conversation with them. Sometimes I’m even aware of what I’m doing as I’m doing it but it’s addicting. It’s so much more helpful for your audience and yourself to merely share your thoughts instead of hitting someone in the face with them. And if it’s a dialogue, it’s important to listen to the opinions of other people. Opposing opinions can re-affirm your own beliefs, teach you something, and maybe even get you to change your mind, which is something our ego’s resist.

  • Positive versus negative. After years spent fighting against something and the death threats and the hate I received, I burned out. I stopped for a couple of years.

    It was only by emphasising the positives in (in my case) Israel, I got some writing mojo back. It doesn’t mean ignoring negatives, but trying mostly to cancel them out with positives or humour.

  • Jacquie Fankell

    This is beautiful. As a blogger, I often ask myself, “Why do I want people to read my writing? Why do I even care how many followers I have?” And this is exactly what it all comes down to: “Writing, art, creation is at its best when it changes people. When it gets them to look at the world in a different way.” It’s not about popularity, or being right, and it absolutely isn’t about myself. It’s all about creating change and helping people find truth, beauty, and goodness. Thank you not only for the reminder, but also for being an example of this.

    Writing,
    art, creation, is at its best when it changes people. When it gets
    them to look at the world in a different way. – See more at:
    http://popchassid.com/why-post-popular/#sthash.BSrw4bxn.dpuf

    • “It’s not about popularity, or being right, and it absolutely isn’t about myself. It’s all about creating change and helping people find truth, beauty, and goodness.”

      I love this so much. It makes me so happy to know there are other bloggers out there that feel the same way. I really think there can be a “romantic” revolution the way there was with poetry. People need it these days, in my opinion.

  • Jeremy Rothenberg

    I think it was popular because you stated a truth that is inside everyone. Our emotions are confusing. What we think, or have been taught, is love, is often something else entirely. And for someone like me, the real learning of caring, nurturing, and love, in a marriage came way after the “in love” part was gone.

    I often say that being “in love” is a psychological disorder. Love is something that comes from clarity, and as you say, putting someone’s needs ahead of your own.

    Great post.

  • I just stumbled onto your site after reading the post in question. I loved the post and I think your analysis of why it became popular is really interesting. To be honest, my initial analysis was that you had a catchy title that makes people crave an answer, you’re a good writer, and you gave us something of value. But your own analysis of its popularity, here, is an even bigger motivator to me. I actually write a blog myself and focus on how to help people build a positive life.

    Today, actually, I read something and had a really negative reaction to it. All day I’ve held myself back from writing my two cents or a rant in some sort of opposition. But this article of yours here is a strong reminder that people don’t WANT to read rants and people are most importantly not CHANGED by rants. And changing people into something better and more meaningful should be my goal, not just catching people’s attention and entertainment. Anyways, thank you for this article and the other one…I’m excited to continue following you! 🙂

    Cheers,
    Melyssa
    http://thenectarcollective.com/

    • Love your last paragraph! Yes, I think so. Although I DO think it’s important to stand up for our beliefs at times, I think what matters in those situations is how we stand up. As you said, we’re usually tempted to allow ourselves to speak in anger. I think that when we do stand up for something we care about, or even “fight” back in some way, that’s when it’s most important to be in a calm state of mind. The only way that situation can be elevating is when we handle it in a way that’s not dominated by negative emotions.

      As for your first paragraph, I just want to point out that good headlines, giving value, all that’s good for sure. It helps. But there are a LOT of posts like that. And they get decently popular. I guess what I wanted to know is why it was SO popular. Which you seem to agree with me on, so whatever, just thought I’d point that out 🙂

    • Lisa

      Hi Melyssa,

      I wanted to comment on your post because I had the exact same reaction to this article.

      I am very glad to have found a “home” with this audience. I initially found this article through Huff Post and was so disappointed by the thread of comments following such a beautifully written meditation on love.

      I am normally a pretty staunch atheist (raised Catholic and of Arab origin) but I like the religious perspective and wisdom in this writing. As you mention in this follow up piece, you approach the subject of love with humility. Love is the most important and ubiquitous theme, but outside of sharing your story with us, you don’t preach and you don’t judge. It is a small and personal snapshot that really resonates with a large audience.

      Love can very easily be a selfish emotion. It makes you feel good and when it’s good, it is the greatest and most exhilarating high. Maybe it is the impact of Western Cultural you mention in your post, but fundamentally, too few people approach love and for that matter all relationships from a place of humility and giving. The result often ends in hardship or adultery or divorce.

      It is hopeful to me to hear about the successful transition from passionate to mature love. I feel like people constantly describe relationships and marriages as “work” and “sacrifice” which generally have negative connotations. Granted this all heavily depends on the compatibility of you and your partner, but to me, the giving and “sacrifice” and “work” that go into nurturing a relationship are the most wonderful parts of it. It allows you to step outside yourself, trust in your partner and create something bigger which ultimately allows you to grow.

      I really apologize for the long comment and the sappiness of my response, but I appreciate this story and it resonated with me.

      • I can’t believe someone apologized here for being sappy 🙂 As you said, this is a home for sappy folks like us, so I’m so happy you found your way here. It’s great to read comments like yours.

        And by the way, I love your idea about humility. I’ve been thinking about that too, but you placed the word on it I was looking for. A lot of the reactions to my post that I have noticed still don’t seem to be coming from that place, even when they agreed with me, which I found fascinating. I think it’s something even more all-encompassing than the idea of love. Humility means that we are open enough to changing ourselves and growing, which allows for that capacity to give.

        So yeah, thanks so much for your wonderful thoughts, and thanks again for visiting. Hope to see you here more 🙂

  • Dee

    Another engaging last line. Boom! *applause*

  • I also think it was so popular because a lot of people realize deep down that maybe they didn’t love their spouse when they got married but they have been afraid to admit it. Your post likely allowed a bunch of people to think “me too! I thought I was the only one!” People like to feel like they are not alone….especially when their feelings are seen as “bad” or “not normal.”

  • Julian

    When I stumbled across the original article that a friend had shared on Facebook, I have to admit that I was drawn in by the title. I thought..”this could be interesting, I wonder where he is going to take this”. As I was reading, I kept getting pulled deeper and deeper into the story and into my own thoughts and emotions on the topic. I kept thinking to myself…This is exactly where my husband and I are in our relationship. We have had our share of issues but we always work them out and become stronger as a couple.

    As we are now expecting our first child in November, I have been focusing on making sure that we have a good relationship that is sound and loving for our bundle of joy. This article pulled on my heart strings as I was thinking about it.

    I think of Judaism as a culture of beliefs that all Jews try to live by regardless of how religious they claim to be. On that note, this whole belief that one can change someone by respecting them is so refreshing and falls in line with the culture of beliefs. Something that I would like to say that I do but know that it is easier said than done…I am working on it. That is my goal for the next year.

    Ok it is late and I better get back to work. Thanks for listening to the girl from a Jewish/Christian upbringing

  • Kim van Deutekom

    I came to this blog after reading your post that someone shared on Facebook. Consider my mind blown!! Love as a verb instead of just a feeling, something so simple yet so complex! Love is all around us, isn’t it? No, not the action of love but the hearts-in-the-eyes, butterflies-in-the-stomach, feels good for now sort of love. The love that dies. The love that is only on the surface. I wish I would have realized this much sooner in life!

  • Rebecca Lammersen

    “Save One Life, Save The World Entire.”