I was absolutely shocked by the reader response to my post, “Deal With It,” in which I gave a stream of conscious list of who I really am, unfiltered. Thank you to everyone who replied to the post, and to all those who messaged me privately with their own Deal With It lists. I am honored that you trusted me with your whole selves.
Several people have suggested I encourage others to make their own Deal With It lists. I am totally on board with this idea! It is honestly the most liberating feeling, even if you don’t make it public.
For those of us who have felt silenced by our culture, by our families, by our coworkers, by our congregations, or by our peers, there is something incredibly empowering about laying out your whole self candidly for all the world to see. It’s sort of like publicly outing yourself as a whole, thinking, feeling human being, when for whatever reason you haven’t felt that way before.
If this is you, I’ll tell you how to write your own Deal With It list. But first…
There are some rules.
In order to actually work, a Deal With It list must be done for the right reasons. A Deal With It list is a statement of SELF. It is entirely about digging deep into your own heart, mind, and soul, and sharing your discoveries with the world, or, in the very least, putting it down on paper.
Something about writing it out makes it so much more meaningful than if you just think it inside your head. Thoughts don’t do you any good if you don’t turn them into action. Writing it down makes it real. And in the case of a Deal With It list, writing it down makes you real.
For people who haven’t felt seen or heard much in their lives, this is incredibly healing. Which brings me to an important point.
Before we can discuss who should write a Deal With It list, we must first discuss who should not.
Deal With It lists are not an opportunity for people to spout toxic filth. They are for those of us who have felt intimidated and silenced by those who are so afraid of the people they disagree with that they are willing to bully and suppress any and all dissent to their ideas about right and wrong.
A Deal With It list is an opportunity to give a voice to all of us who have felt intimidated to speak our hearts and minds, not by rioters and gun-toting militia in the streets, but by friends and family at our own Sunday dinner tables. The voiceless voice of reason has been dealing with the intimidation of ideological bullies for far too long. It’s time for us to speak up, and for the demagogues and bullies to just Deal With It.
If you are not ready to be introspective, and discuss ALL THE THINGS, you’re not ready to write a Deal With It list. If you are too busy fixing other people to really focus on your own stuff, you’re not ready to write a Deal With It list. If you are more concerned with putting people in their place than establishing your own place, you are not ready to write a Deal With It list.
Here is a list of what a Deal With It list is not:
NOT a giant middle finger to all the people who have hurt, defamed, disagreed, or otherwise offended you. Grown-ups respect other people’s right to disagree and be on their own journey. If you aren’t ready to let others be, in all their broken humanity (or inhumanity), then you’re not ready to write a Deal With It list.
NOT a political statement. Nowadays, politics is very much a part of who we are. I don’t actually consider this a bad thing. I think it’s important that we know what we believe, and that we stand up for those beliefs. That being said, a Deal With It list isn’t an opportunity to campaign for any particular cause or candidate. Your politics are just a small segment of your whole self. If you can’t wrap your brain around this concept, you aren’t ready to deal with it.
NOT a religious statement. Similar to politics, our religion is a big part of who we are. However, a Deal With It list is about putting yourself out there, being vulnerable, and saying once and for all, “This is me! Deal with it.” It is not about bringing people to Jesus, or proselytizing for any religion.
NOT an opportunity to express your perceived superiority over others. A Deal With It list does not oppress others. It does not condemn whole races, religions, sexual orientations, or other demographic groups. It does not attack other people. There is an enormous difference between saying, “This is who I am, take it or leave it” versus, “This is why I’m better than you.” If you can’t make that distinction, you need to do more soul searching before you make a Deal With It list.
If you are using a Deal With It list to…
…Tell somebody off, fix somebody else, convince someone to vote for your candidate or support your cause, convert to your religion, or oppress other people, you just don’t get it, and you certainly aren’t ready to deal with it.
Basically, a Deal With It list is not about anyone else. It’s about setting your own boundaries around who you are, what you love, and what you stand for, regardless of what anybody else thinks, and even if others might not like it. You can learn more about setting boundaries and being accountable for who you here.
Who should write a deal with it list…
Are you intimidated by all those outspoken people on the news or in your office or in your Bible study or PTA or play group or at your family gatherings who rant and rave and think they know it all?
Do you hold back large parts of yourself for fear that you’ll be judged, condemned, or shunned by your peers, family, or community?
Are you someone who has felt invisible most of your life?
Do you suffer from Impostor Syndrome, an emotional state in which, despite your accomplishments and strengths, you believe you do not deserve happiness or success in life? Are these limiting beliefs so hindering you that you actually miss out on opportunities that you were perfectly qualified for?
Are you totally okay with other people being themselves, even if that means having an entirely different worldview than you, and just utterly sick and tired of bullies forcing their opinions and nastiness down everyone else’s throats?
If any of this applies to you, then you should write a Deal With It list.
Imagine a world where all the calm, rational, moderate people suddenly spoke up and said, “This is me. Deal with it.”
Imagine a world where compromise was a thing again, because the silent majority finally stood up and said, “I’m okay with you being you, as long as you’re okay with me being me.”
Imagine a world where the demagogues and extremist had to stand down, because their platform was suddenly taken over by regular people simply being themselves.
Imagine a world where we all felt seen, where those who sought to silence you failed, and they’d just have to Deal With It.
Wouldn’t that be nice?
I am totally ready to Deal With It. Are you?
If so, sit down, write your own list, and, if you’re feeling really bold and empowered, post it on your favorite social media feed for all the world to see. Share a link to this post, so that a) people don’t think the crazy state of the world has finally tipped you over the edge, and b) other people who are interested in making their own list know the rules.
And when you’re writing your list, make sure that you…
Follow the rules!
WRITE as clearly as you know how. Take your time and try to make it as clear and easy to read as possible. I suggest using bullet points, but they aren’t necessary. For an example, you can review my list here.
FOCUS on telling the world about who you are, your likes, your dislikes, what makes you unique, what makes you tick, what inspires your passion.
DO NOT waste your readers’ time telling other people off. We aren’t in junior high. Deal with it. (Unless you actually are in junior high, in which case, I’m so sorry. I’ve been there.)
DO NOT campaign for a cause or candidate. You can talk about your likes and dislikes without turning it into a political ad.
DO NOT try converting others to your religion. This is an exercise in self-reflection, not a sermon.
DO NOT condemn others for disagreeing with you.
DO NOT make racist, homophobic, misogynistic, or otherwise defamatory remarks about any group, religion, or individual.
Basically, BE A GROWN UP, own your stuff, and leave others to their own journey.
And most of all, HAVE FUN celebrating YOU!
Share with me!
I’d love to see your Deal With It list! You can email me at email@example.com, or you can tag me in your post. By sharing your email address, you are joining a community of other people ready to Deal With It! Please let me know if you’d rather not receive updates on my latest thoughts and ramblings, and what’s going on in the Sara Beth Times and Redefining Love communities.
Copyright © 2021 Sara Beth Wald