Are You An Influencer?

Are any of you confused by the popular rise to fame of influencers in our society? The definition of an influencer is a person or thing that influences another or a person with the ability to influence a person to buy a product or a service by promoting it on the internet.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In searching for the popular influencers the names listed were Daily Dose, Huda Kattan, and Cameron Dallas who were the first three in the top 9 I found. Others on the list were Selena Gomez and Kylee Jenner, which were the only names I recognized, but then I am old and I don’t follow them so apparently, none of these people are influencing me. I wondered how my life would change if I let them into my social media life to give me tips.

I checked out Daily Dose on Instagram and it appears to influence you to think positively and is inspirational. Huda Kattan is a beauty influencer and sells beauty products. I would guess it is women, not men she is influencing. Cameron Dallas, according to Wikipedia is an American Internet personality and actor who has produced some of his own reality movies. Do a search for influencers and the list is endless. These people were made popular by pitching themselves and/or their product on social media sites. Americans tuned in and made them famous. Many of them have spun themselves so there are books and products representing them. Many live their lives online sharing some intimate details such as the couple who gave up their adopted son and put it all out there online.

I was influenced for a short time by Marie Kondo. I still like her but do not follow her methods after trying them. Let’s face it, I do not like being totally organized and don’t like a perfectly clean and organized home. It takes too much time to be perfect and I am not into perfect. I feel more at home in my organized chaos so I let Marie go.

Not only do their followers propel them to the top so they can be famous, but they also contribute to their financial success beyond any of our wildest dreams. What would happen if we took a worker in a care home and propelled them to influencer fame and threw our money at them as we are doing to those whose only claim to fame is what they put out for others to see on Social Media?

The internet has gained a power over us that we are drawn in and hooked on following people who would not be celebrities without it. Some are deserving of the status but others make their living conning us by letting us be voyeurs into their lives. We don’t know these people. We used to call them salesmen in real life. A good salesman with a gift of gab and a charismatic personality was at the top of his or her game. Some were sincere and some were able to lead people astray because of their magnetic charm making them believable.

We are all influencers in one way or another. By the way, did you know that now Influencer is an official word? I had to look it up because my spell check kept tagging it. Apparently, spellcheck isn’t up-to-date on what is happening with the word the same as we aren’t all up-to-date on how our society is changing because of it.

How do you influence someone in your everyday life, silently without social media making you famous?

Early on I was influenced by my parents to believe in God and to pray. I watched my dad interact with customers in his shoe store and I was taught honesty, caring for others because if someone came in and they were down on their luck and needed a little cash, he gave it to them. I still have the IOU’s in his billfold that he knew would never be paid. I keep them to remind me of the kindness my dad showed to others.

I was influenced by my friend Karen, and Orrie, and Jan, who all faced cancer with courage and hope.

Every day there is someone that I actually know that does something or says something that makes me step back and consider following their lead. it isn’t only soul-changing influences but also small things that might not change my path but add to it. Such as Sally, who encouraged me to try Stained Glass, or Charlotte who encourages me to paint, making me find a new way to release tension. They influenced my choices for creativity.

The women in my trivia group got me hooked on Avon Banishing Creme. Their stating how much they loved it made me want to try it. I knew them, I trusted them.

I know most of the influencers in my life do not turn off their magnetic personality and become a different person when not in the media spotlight. They are sincere. They are trustworthy. Why is it then, that so many people put their trust in an unknown entity and it is happening regularly with our teenagers. Do we model that for them?

My point is that we don’t need to turn to the internet guru Influencers to find our path. You are the influencer. You make a difference in what you do, what you say to your family and your friends. The influence is in our daily words, our daily lives, the way we laugh, the way we look at life and the way we treat others. The world might not know who you are but those who count, do, and that is most precious contact in the universe.

Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.”

Napoleon Hill

I’m A Weed!

I am a weed and I match all the weeds in my yard. Yes, my yard has weeds. I am also a flower. Weeds are an imperfect popup in the midst of the flowers. There is room in our yards and gardens for both, letting them balance each other out. If there isn’t a balance to the weeds growth they choke the life out of the living plants and the same thing can be said in our lives. If we let ourselves be overtaken by the weeds, society changes.

I suspect lately we have more weeds that don’t have that flower to balance them out in our society, popping up to remind us of our imperfections.

My mom had a green thumb. Our yard was full of flowers and our garden was a proliferation of planted vegetables, flowers, strawberries and yes, we had weeds. Our yard had the pretty weeds such as dandelions, violets and other things I would pick as a bouquet for my mom. My mom did not believe in pesticides so she let the weeds grow. The flowers weren’t planted in perfect flower beds but would pop up all over the yard wherever she decided she needed a pop of color. She loved the butterflies, bunnies and birds plus the squirrels that played in our yard. So did my cats, I might add. I remember sitting on the steps or looking out the window and loving the way the yard looked, flowers mixed with weeds. The imperfect lawn. I was naive. I thought that was the way yards were supposed to look, a mixture of flowers and weeds. I have no idea what everyone thought of our yard but I don’t remember my friends yards being much different. We had bare spots in our yard too. So did my friends. We played hard in those yards and the bare spots became bases for our ball games. We accepted all the imperfections of our gardens and our yards.

I have tried not to be a weed . I have tried not to have a yard with weeds and I found both very unsatisfying. Trying to live up to expectations of others wears one out. It is a cruel world out there and if you don’t measure up you are plucked and stripped very fast by a human weed killer. Those weed killers don’t understand there is room for both if both are responsible to not trample on each other.

I have found a balance in my yard. My friend who is a perfectionist gave me one flower bed that is well planned and neatly arranged. I love that she did that for me and I love that flower bed. But thinking back to my childhood I knew I wanted a yard also of random flowering wildflowers and weeds and so I took a page out of my mother’s book of planting, without the green thumb unfortunately. I threw wildflower seeds in one flower bed and I love the surprises popping up. There are weeds but I can’t tell what is what right now until they are up and blooming

I have sunflowers growing by my bird feeder and my yard is full of birds, rabbits and yes, squirrels. My shysters love the squirrels that climb our bird feeder in search of food. They turn around and there is a stare down between the squirrel and my cats. I suspect they both find it fun.

Some prefer manicured yards and make sure the bunnies and the squirrels stay away. I respect that if the manicured yard reflects their personality and values. There is room for both the manicured and the throw it together yard.

There is a fine line though while I am in weed mode. If it isn’t hurting anyone or breaking any laws while I am being a weed I can enjoy the feeling. Yet, if my weeds hurt my neighbors then I need to compromise. In fact we did that last year. We took down some bushes that caused too many shooters in my neighbors lawn. Our neighbors didn’t complain and were very nice about it but…it made me feel uncomfortable that my bushes were ruining their yard and causing them more work. Taking the bushes down was the right thing to do.

I am very lucky I to not live in a neighborhood with a covenant that tells me what I can or cannot do in my yard. Would that infringe on my right to be a weed? Yes it would, but I would have chose to live there and to compromise. Compromise is a hard word for some. Though I am a weed much of the time, I like to compromise with the flower as we need both to live.

Is my right as a weed more important than the right of my friend that is more flower than weed? Lately I’ve been trying to decide.

I don’t mind wearing a mask. Is it uncomfortable? Sometimes it is. I like to also think of it as a fashion statement. Some colorful masks rock. I could complain that it is violating my weed rights, but it is a given we have to wear clothes in public too. Doesn’t that violate our rights that we need to wear clothes in public or in stores? No one seems to be taking a stand on that? How is that different? Now remember that is the weed thinking, popping up and causing trouble.. I wear clothes to protect others. My skin wrinkles and rolls. Just as clothes protect you from seeing my wrinkles and my rolls, a mask protects you from seeing my jowls, my wrinkles and the puckery lined lips and possibly will keep you well.

There is a mixture of flowers and weeds in most of us. We learn to live with one another but in living with one another there has to be compassion, caring and compromise. If as a weed we don’t have the softness of a flower to balance us out we can become cruel, judgmental, unbending and destructive. Yes, I can be all of that.

The flower part of me says I need to compromise and think of my neighbor and how what I do may benefit or hurt them. The flower part of me says along with the right to be free comes the responsibility to see that others are free too and my choices might take their freedom away.

The weed part says it is my lawn and I can do what I want no matter who it harms. The weed part of me says I don’t need to worry if my neighbor has enough food, I worry only about my household. The weed part of me says I don’t have to wear a mask. As long as I’m not sick it doesn’t matter. The weed part of me says laws are for everyone else and not for me because I have the right to not follow the law. Throw that speed limit out.

Both parts of me fight all the time because I have so much selfishness inside of me, but I hope the flower in me isn’t choked out by my weeds so caring about others overrides the want or the need inside of myself to only think of how something benefits me. These past few weeks I have been surprised by the reactions of some I know both online and in person. I came to the conclusion we really don’t know who someone is until we are tested by diverse circumstances. True character sometimes is well hidden until it isn’t and it comes out in selfishness, hatred or racial divisiveness.

What is winning in your life, the flowers or the weeds or are you a perfect mix. allowing for a balance?

Meanderings Of A Restless Mind

My friend Lilly made the bookmark in the picture. it is tattered and a little torn from use just as I am today. I am dictating this as I am laid up, or I should say my hand is laid up with a bent finger.

The bookmark is placed in a chapter in the book, He Still Moves Me, by Max Lucado. I am on the chapter called Bruised Reeds and Smoldering Wicks. The chapter addresses being frail, like a bruised reed bent but still standing by the rivers edge.

This chapter, as well as the entire book resonates with me this morning because the first thing I thought of when I woke up, for some strange reason, is are we overthinking our purpose in life? What if our only purpose in life were to be kind to one another? I posted that on my Facebook page this morning.

I think the thought came to my mind because of all the unsettling news in the world today. Yesterday all I wanted to post was the words “I am a Christian and an American.”

I am not defined by a political party or by a certain denomination. I am defined by what is in my heart and by what I believe to be right and wrong and how I live my life.

That doesn’t mean I am the perfect person. I let myself be defined by outside influences. And because of it I define others or perhaps I should say I create an atmosphere in my relationships, or in my interactions which causes me to put a definition, right wrong on my friends or family that may change the path of their life, blurring their expectations of who they really are. Yes our words do influence others, occasionally in the wrong way.

This paragraph in Max Lucado’s book hit me hard this morning. It asks us if we are that bruised reed. If we once stood tall with confidence but the words of others, the criticism, words of anger, words of failure by religions rigidity, wounded and bent us and left us blowing In the wind.

Many of us are that bent reed. I don’t know what happens for you, but I know for me it makes me strike out or retreat because I want to stay out of the way of the harshness. And it makes us feel less than ok with ourselves, operhaps turning us into someone we are not, someone of harshness or anger. A person who wounds and lashes out to keep ourselves safe from the wounds of others. We retreat or attack.

I’ve always been a talker, I talk fast and I ramble on and I have always been made fun of for talking so much. And it makes me feel bad. But I have never said anything to those who criticize my talking. I have never shared that I ramble on because I feel less than, or I ramble on because I’m nervous, or I ramble on because I am just so uncomfortable in social situations.

When I am teased or criticized for talking too much I hide my hurt, and sometimes I retreat and I’m more silent because I am uncomfortable in the presence of the person that made fun of me and my personality. It makes me feel that I’m less than and it is not acceptable to be who I am.

My reading this morning made me realize that I am that bruised reed and I imagine there are so many people out there just like me. I also know that I probably many times have been the cause of making someone else feel that way.

The past weeks myself and others have spent an enormous amount of time and energy defending our views and not listening, or trying to understand the views of one another, making each of us feel wrong or attacked because we believe what we believe. And when we feel cornered we attack too and nothing is accomplished except losing our own integrity.

I have noticed that many attacks on the political front come from people who are normally outgoing and outspoken, and yes sometimes I am the outspoken one. I think we get louder and talk more if we feel we are not being heard or we want to bully someone into taking our side. Doing that makes others cower in fear and retreat and be silent, because they feel speaking out causes attack and they want to be peaceful. It stops us from hearing the wisdom of those silent voices.

There seems to be a certain criteria to be an accepted Christian depending on what denomination we choose, and there seems to be a certain criteria that says we have to take sides and be one or the other, Republican or Democrat. Depending on which side we choose, which denomination we choose, determines whether we are good or bad.

We are told we have to have a purpose in life and that too is causing us stress because that is even become an arguable point. If we aren’t helping or volunteering enough or choosing to be very busy then we need to look for our calling. I once was told by someone that my calling was to take my mother-in-law into my home to care for her when she had Alzheimer’s. I couldn’t care for her the way I knew she needed. It was a detriment to her health if I took care of her but yet I felt the pressure of someone feeling that. There is never a day when we can live up to all the expectations put on us by society.

I don’t claim to be an expert on anything especially the Bible, but this chapter in this book spoke to me. Matthew 12:20 says a bruised reed will not break, and a smoldering wick will not be snuffed out.

So I will say it again; I am a Christian. I am an American. I am a talker and I am going to work on my purpose in life, being just to be kind and see where that takes me. I am that bruised reed, bent and blowing in the wind, and you know what? I accept that.

Be kind, especially if you comment on this post. Laugh out loud, because instead of writing, I dictated this so I guess I do talk maybe too much at times, but I am accepting that part of me. It is who I am.