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.

Advertisements

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.