Not every book is good. Not every story you’re going to read is going to be good. But everyone has a story worth telling.
I personally believe that – that every person has a story. Everyone goes through different things, everyone has their own issues to handle, and everyone reacts to things differently. I always like hearing people’s stories.
There’s something about authors that I’ve always admired. Being published requires you to put yourself out there. Whether your writing is intensely personal or just a good piece of writing that you want other people to read, it is a part of you, and you are exposing yourself to the world when your work is published. You are exposing yourself to the possibility of rejection, and you are exposing yourself to critique, both good and bad.
Now, I am not saying that everyone should write a book, by any means. Not everyone is the best at articulating their stories (although in this day and age, sometimes it seems like anyone can write a book). Not everyone should be a published writer. Honestly, sometimes it is hard to even sit there and listen to someone talk. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t all appreciate the fact that everyone has had to deal with something at some point in their lives.
That’s why I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt and to be nice whenever possible. It’s easier to get hurt that way sometimes, when you give people too many chances and they let you down all the time. Sometimes you have to know when to stop giving them the benefit of the doubt and stop letting them take advantage of your kindness. But I learned that old saying, “Treat people as you would want to be treated.” So that’s what I do. I’m not saying that my way of thinking should be adopted by everyone. But I think there is some merit to it, and maybe everyone can try to do this just a little bit more.
I always thought that, even though I might not like a certain song or movie or book or whatever, it’s something that other people appreciate and understand, and it’s another kind of art that takes courage (or, I guess you could say for some people, arrogance or cockiness) to put out there. I think, even if I don’t like something, I can appreciate the fact that someone else likes it, and let them like it. I don’t have to like it. I can appreciate the fact that someone has taken the initiative and made him or herself vulnerable to get his or her art out into the world.
I know we don’t live in a world that necessarily honors effort over other things. But hopefully we can still keep that in mind when we go about our daily business, interacting with people, making choices, forming opinions, speaking our minds. Everyone out there is trying. Trying to make good lives for themselves. Maybe even trying to get their messages out into the world, like all artists do. Some are more successful than others. Some go about their lives being nicer and kinder than others. We might not agree with everything everybody does. Actually, I can guarantee you that we won’t. And we will inevitably come across people who try to hurt others, or maybe don’t try to do anything at all. But in the end, we’re all human. We can give most people credit for trying.
I’m not suggesting that everyone try to psychoanalyze everyone with which they come into contact to figure their stories out. This doesn’t have to be in the forefront of everyone’s minds. But maybe we can tuck this away, somewhere in a corner of our minds, and maybe remind ourselves everyone once in a while, so that we can act with a little more kindness and appreciate the attempts.
So, complain, pick apart, criticize all you want. Just remember that the people on the other end of your comments were making an effort, just like you do in your own lives. They struggle, just like you do. They have their own stories, just like you do. They could very well give it all right back to you.
So all of those songs and paintings and books you don’t like – give the artists props for trying. Of course, you’re entitled to your opinions. But all of you are entitled to have your stories respected.