Sometimes I get so very tired. There’s a constant inundation of negative news and that news brings some of the harshest, angriest criticisms and critiques. Especially if these conversations revolve around topics that can be personal or touchy– race relations, politics, weight, reproduction issues, the list goes on and on.
There’s a tendency to forget that behind these words, clacking on these keys, are real people. In a video, the people who are vlogging or creating content are actual people who exist in the world. Looking at life through a screen gives some people a sense of distance and let’s them feel comfortable to be as cruel as they want to be without any actual thought to the effect those words can have. They are attacking the words and the ideas, right? Not the person. (We’ll ignore for the moment those who immediately go to the personal attacks on weight, race, etc. They’ve already proven that they are just trying to cut someone down.)
But words and ideas are not divorced from the people who say them. Even though it’s just online, a person is writing those thoughts. Even if the argument is fundamentally different than my feelings on the subject, I try to find a way to address it that isn’t a cold dressing down of that person. But there’s times that it’s too much for me. That my emotions are swelling in my throat and I just want to angrily punch my feelings into the screen.
I choose to walk away. Deciding to not engage, can be a compassionate act in itself. It’s not always necessary to weigh in on a subject, and I try to really pick and choose my battles. In it all, I try to remember that even if the idea seems absolutely moronic there’s a person sharing those thoughts and I don’t have to be damaging and cruel in my response even if he or she doesn’t give the world that same respect. I don’t have to be “that guy.”
How do you choose to show the world compassion in your online life?
This is for the 1000 Voices for Compassion linkup. We’ve been doing a quarterly linkup and having a monthly time where we can post about compassion of the topic or the topic of the month. This month we’re talking about compassion. If you’re written a post, please link it up here. And if you haven’t written anything, but you want to read what others have written, go there as well.