Discover more from The Enthusiast by Brad Montague
A message from a human being
(who just wants to be loved)
We have lots of new friends joining us here at The Enthusiast. Thank you. I started this as an experiment and a happy little oasis away from other social media. This has grown into something far more than I ever thought and I remain deeply encouraged by all of you. Thanks for helping make this so special. WELCOME!
I had something completely different to share with you this week, but felt a nudge. Maybe it’s all the new friends here. Maybe it’s your lovely comments on last week’s note. Maybe it’s simply that I’m overwhelmed with some of the extra work I’ve had to take on. This is a reminder I needed.
A few years ago, I began adding little speech bubbles to the front pages of each week’s newspaper.
I found that no matter what the news was or who was on the cover — it remained true.
I’m just a human being who wants to be loved.
It seems so simple, but it is a phrase that continues to challenge me. When my work online first began to find an audience, it also found trolls. There were people who set out not just to critique, but actively hurt. My first instinct was to snap back with something equally hateful. This didn’t feel right. It would only stir up more anger. My next thought was to try and imagine this troll was an actual human.
Not easy, but what if . . .
What if this impersonal avatar with a username that has lots of numbers in it is actually a person? With a heartbeat. With a birthday. With people who love them. Or what if they don’t feel loved? What if this troll is actually just a human being who wants to be loved?
So, I started responding as if this were true. PLEASE NOTE: IT WAS NOT EASY AND IT IS STILL NOT EASY. I am not an expert in this and do not always succeed. It has, though, led to some great conversations, meaningful connections, and a very different me.
It causes me to pause. It helps me become patient. It invites me to be fully present.
Before speaking to a crowd or presenting something in front of an audience, people will often try to calm the nerves of the presenter by saying: “Just picture everybody in their underwear.” People have always said this as if it’s a perfectly normal thing to say to someone who is anxious. I was in elementary school about to nervously read a report in front of my class when a teacher suggested this to me! It, of course, only made me more uncomfortable.
I guess it’s an odd, but well-meaning way of providing some confidence to the person up front. Everyone else here is in their undies! They’re silly little people just like you! It does help put the presenter in a position of power. The problem, though, is it puts the audience in a place of humiliation. This will not solve any of our problems. We need a lot less humiliation of each other and much more humanity.
People being weird around other people goes way back. It’s a tradition we’ve, unfortunately, passed down from generation to generation. We say strange things. We hide from each other. We hurt each other. We hinder each other. Let’s try passing down something new. Let’s create a new tradition of humanizing every person in our path.
The old. The young. The lady in the parking lot. The guy on aisle 7. The dude behind the counter. The woman on the other end of the phone call. The person receiving this email. The person sending this email.
We’re all just human beings who want to be loved. Here’s to letting everybody know they already are what they most long to be.
Hello, my name is Brad. I am a human. I just want to be loved.
I love you all.
p.s. Human being stickers are available here.