A Non-Movement

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The below is an excerpt of next month’s Editor’s Letter on Clementine Daily. Because you all are close to my heart, I wanted you to read it first…

Ladies. I’ve been meaning to tell you something.

I fear we’ve been misleading ourselves. In a cultural sea of mixed messaging – inspirational vs. aspirational, real vs. authentic, truth vs. honesty – I fear we’ve run off course. And today, I want us to think deeply about the road we’re walking.

From where I stand, I see constant tribes of women who are lifting each other up, rallying for empowerment and body acceptance and feminism, and – please do not mistake my message here – there is good in this. It is my wish that we all feel encouraged and loved.

But.

I fear we’re seeking that love in the wrong places. We’re seeking that love from others who are just like us, because they are just like us. And this is not love. This is approval. And this is a pure recipe for the complacency of a collective whole. We do not grow without being challenged. And we do not become challenged when we continually seek approval for behavior that is less than our best.

There’s a moment that happens in our hearts when we hear, read or see something that causes dissonance in our soul. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, and we can do one of two things with it: we can run away from it – becoming defensive and hardened and angered – to the arms of a crowd, where, surely enough, there will be a campaign to rally against the message that caused such dissonance in the first place.

Or.

We can walk slowly toward that feeling, and we can listen. We can let it sit. We can let it sink in, and then we can measure it against the truths that we know: truths that speak toward love and patience and self-control and faithfulness.

And – if it passes such test – we can choose to consider that little feeling one of conviction, rather than discouragement. We can choose to plant that feeling – a tiny seed – and allow it to lodge itself into our souls, one that will grow in an environment of individual truth, rather than collective approval. (This is hard. It requires a lot of digging, a lot of soil upturned. But you can do it.)

We live in an age where there is a movement for everything. We live in an age where we have confused relatable with authentic; where “keeping it real” hashtags mean snapping photos of screaming children or scuffed sneakers or dirty dishes.

But ladies, we know what real life looks like. We live these moments daily. And they are not meant to be measured against the collective society. They are not billboards or movements or standards. Do you hear me? These are not standards.

But these are:

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

I hope you hear these standards when you read these words. And I hope that when you see a movement – online or off – that looks glossy and empowering and viral, you think of these standards. Measure them. Ponder them. And run.

Because ladies, this is what I believe: it is better to wander a lonely desert of truth than swim in a crowded sea of wrong.

You can find me in the desert this month. (Hope to see you there.)

XO,
Erin Loechner

  • You continue to inspire me with your posts, every time I come here. I just started reading your blog again after a few years away (I stopped reading a lot of blogs a while back, just to simplify) and I am so moved by your words.

    Just wanted to say thanks for putting these thoughts and ideals and goals out into the world. :)

  • I hear you. With that said, I admire your writing. The way you are able to share your thoughts in an interesting and thought provoking way. Please continue to share what you think and what is important to you. Even if it’s only to inspire the women who read your posts. It matters. At least to me it does.

  • “it is better to wander a lonely desert of truth than swim in a crowded sea of wrong.”

    YES. THIS.

  • Always so good! I agree with all these comments. Your writings are so thoughtful and thought provoking. And somehow I always leave with a warm, calm feeling.
    Thank you.

  • Think! For yourself! And yes: Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control for all. Compassion. Responsibility. Understanding. Yes.

  • Your last few posts have been jaw-dropping…delicately handling truth but in a way that leaves me thinking, wanting more.

  • Have I mentioned that I just adore you and your work? Spot on, Erin. My mornings are always best commenced with some Erin Loechner clarity and a cup of coffee.

  • Hi Erin!

    Great article.

    “We can choose to plant that feeling – a tiny seed – and allow it to lodge itself into our souls, one that will grow in an environment of individual truth, rather than collective approval. (This is hard. It requires a lot of digging, a lot of soil upturned. But you can do it.)” Why do you believe it’s so difficult for Women? Do you think it’s hard for Men? What do you think needs to shift on a macro level?

    Warmly,
    Brenda Ochoa

    • Hi Brenda:

      Thanks for your note! I’ve chatted with a few men about this, and it seems that in my immediate circle, comparison/acceptance is primarily a female struggle. Perhaps men don’t seek approval from a collective or popular opinion, but instead, from their nearest and dearest? And actually, I think perhaps the shift needs to happen on a micro level – an acceptance of responsibility, accountability and gratitude/joy per individual. It only takes a spark, in my opinion. One can certainly impact many!

  • Wow Erin, you blow me away. You have a true gift for writing that I don’t have….I feel like you can put into words so eloquently what I cannot. Thank you for these truthful words.
    “We live in an age where there is a movement for everything. We live in an age where we have confused relatable with authentic; where “keeping it real” hashtags mean snapping photos of screaming children or scuffed sneakers or dirty dishes.
    But ladies, we know what real life looks like. We live these moments daily. And they are not meant to be measured against the collective society. They are not billboards or movements or standards. Do you hear me? These are not standards.
    But these are:
    Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.”

  • beautiful… and empowering :D.

    I had a moment with one of my friends – she said to me “I just really pray that you find people that ‘get you'”. I got home and cried – it was then that I realized that she wasn’t the only one who had it wrong.

    I don’t need to find people who ‘get me.’ I need to surround myself with people who love me even though they don’t get me. (which means, wiping that misunderstood comment from my mind and building in to that relationship even though I don’t ‘get her’ either :D)

  • Good gracious, this is just beautiful and perfection and wonderful. Thank you for sharing your wonderful heart on this space, Erin! I meant to wake up early to work, to really do work, before my own little bear girl wakes up, but catching up on your blog has me glued to my seat and I have no regrets!

    xoxo

    • Oh Laurel – your encouragement is so appreciated! Thank you! Kisses to your sweet little bear girl. :)

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