Kindness. Compassion. Respect. Online.

Like most people, I check in with social media each day.  In recent times, I have noticed an increase in angry posts.  Why is that? I suppose it harks back to my previous post about people being so ready to be offended.

Why is everyone so angry?

Where love and fear mix; a loved one is threatened, you are threatened or if you or a loved one are physically violated, this I can understand. Anger in retaliation. Though anger is not the most productive of emotions, I would be hard-pressed to remain calm if someone hurt someone I love.  It’s justifiable. Love drives us to protect.

But how can we justify online anger? It’s discontentment, pure and simple.  We think our lives should be better because we see images of people apparently living the high life.  It also arises from boredom and put simply, it’s just too easy to vent your spleen online.   The audience is ready-made, in the form of Facebook friends or Twitter followers or whichever platform you prefer.

These days everyone is a politician.

Everyone is a personal trainer.

Everyone is a dietitian/nutritionist.

One religion is better than another.

Everyone is an expert in something.

What about respect? What about respecting that we are all entitled to opinions but we can’t be right about everything?  What about having a difference of opinion without belittling someone or expressing anger?  What about recognising that we can all learn something new?

First world problems are less serious that third world problems so we squabble about politics, sports, fashion.  This is fair enough but people don’t want to learn anything.  They think they are right so that’s that. Full stop.

So what can be done about it?

Kids receive internet safety chats at school to keep them safe from predators.  Maybe there should be more training for adults. The ease of access to the internet via laptops or smart phones isn’t necessarily a good thing if the user is not savvy.  Not all news is real. Not all profiles are real. Personas can be fake.  People can be less than tactful with a keyboard than they might be verbally.  I think we need to go back to basics.

Don’t accept everything as real.

Remember that fundamentally, human beings are good people.

How would you treat someone offline? With kindness and compassion?

Good.

Remember that when you type.

Kindness. Compassion. Respect.

Disconnection

Everything is connected these days.  Technology has made it super convenient for us to stay in touch with people.  While this may be great in theory, sometimes it is just too much.  I have found it helpful lately to limit the time I spend looking at my phone; sometimes muting conversations, sometimes deleting apps and I have noticed that it leads to a less turbulent mind!  I saw this article by Martha Beck retweeted recently and felt it resonated with me.  It may with you too!

Logging Off: The Power of Disconnection

Di 🙂

 

 

Wasps

I feel better when the wasps in my brain die off.

Thoughts can be so noisy sometimes.  Buzz, buzz, buzz goes the worry, worry, worry about silly, irrelevant, irrational things.

I’m thankful that these spells are few and far between for me but when they do hit, they are overwhelming and frankly, a little frightening.  Perhaps I’m not unique in this.  I can, after all, only experience my own thoughts.  My mind and moods are predominantly calm.  I do feel like I’m quite level-headed generally and I’m thankful for that but then that probably makes the contrast so stark when the nest is disturbed.  I can’t explain where it comes from so I guess the only thing I can do is see it off.

So how can I exterminate the thoughts that not only buzz but sting?  What is the mental version of neutralising a sting, like vinegar is to a physical one?

Stop.

Meditate.

Quieten the mind.

Gain clarity.

Ten minutes of meditation works wonders.  Today I can analyse myself without feeling the anxiety that accompanied the wasp chorus.  I realise that:

I feel better when I’m not trying to read people’s minds.  Their thoughts are none of my business. 

I feel better when I am not trying to analyse group text messages and look for some hidden meaning, some reason why I might have offended someone or wondering whether their comment is offensive.  I didn’t and no, it isn’t or wasn’t intended to be anyway.

Paranoia ain’t good.  Another point is, not everyone thinks the same way or communicates in the same way as me.  While a comment might look offensive to me, if the same thing had been said verbally rather than in writing, it would possibly seem innocent.  Different mediums give different meanings to words. 

I feel better when I don’t worry so much about how I appear to others.  Being able to look myself in the eye is more important.  Being able to hold my head high means more.

I feel better when I don’t expect everyone to like me.  They might do but I feel better not wondering about it!  I have a husband, son, daughter, mother, father, grandparents, aunties, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends who love me.  That means more, a hell of a lot more than fake friendships in real life or reality. AND WHAT DOES IT MATTER ANYWAY? 

I feel better when I am being kind to myself.   And why not?  I have to live with myself.

I feel better after writing this.

You snooze, you lose!

I have heard stories of writers compelled to write and somehow, seemingly through the use of magic, they are able to conjure up time where it doesn’t seem to exist i.e in between working a full-time job, looking after a family/pets, looking after yourself, navigating through an increasingly busy modern life and not forgetting sleep. People have to sleep. I always wondered how this magic works. How do they find the motivation to make this extra time?

I’ve mentioned before that Elmore Leonard used to get up at 5 and write for 2 hours before going to work.  While this is admirable, the thought of doing this fills me with dread and given the fact I also have to ready two small children for school/nursery before I leave for work just before 8, this is not really possible for me anyway.  I’m not being negative or procrastinating, it’s just the way it is.  I do have a little bit of good news to share though.

I recently discovered a motivational speaker called Mel Robbins on YouTube.  I liked what she had to say so I downloaded her book from Amazon – Stop Saying You’re Fine: Discover A More Powerful You.  As with most self-help advice, it offers some nuggets that really should be common sense.  The parts that stood out the most were:

1)  Stop pressing snooze on your alarm clock.  Get up and start the day.  

She says by doing this, you are using your “activation energy.”  The idea (originally thought of by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) is that you don’t want to get up but if you make yourself, you are pushing through your limits and you’ll be able to use the extra say 30 minutes to do something else.  I have been doing this for 5 days.  It was difficult at first but now I’m springing out of bed and using the quiet time (before the kids get up) to write or edit.  Bonus! I would have been hitting snooze 2 or 3 times normally.  At even just 30 minutes per weekday, I’m gaining two and a half hours to write.

2)  Do the things you don’t want to do to get what you want

Mel says that if we don’t act on our ideas or impulses within 5 seconds, they disappear.  By this she means, if you have an idea or impulse and you don’t do something with it straight away, you will most likely talk yourself out of it.  I have to admit to doing this sometimes.  Mundane tasks end up taking priority and reducing the amount of time available for more enjoyable pursuits such as writing or playing guitar.  She says if you can start pushing through resistance to act on smaller impulses, you will build up confidence to being able to push through resistance to bigger change – change that will benefit your life.  My first step was not pressing snooze but I have noticed myself pushing through with smaller things throughout the day as well.

I would definitely recommend checking Mel out, either via YouTube or her book.  I for one will definitely be carrying on with this way of thinking/acting.

What do I have to lose? Nothing.  What do I have to gain? Everything!

Di 🙂