I could have written this meme (but I didn’t). Many years ago, in an email group of moms, I wrote a note about how mean people had become. Everywhere I went, people were letting doors slam in my face, cutting me off in traffic or in line, giving me the finger and calling me names if I made the slightest mistake in traffic, etc etc.
My friends told me that they didn’t think that things were all that bad and challenged me to look for the good and try to push back the negative. I did find little pockets of pleasant and really made an attempt at looking at the bright side as they say. I still try to do that today, but it’s getting more difficult.
While I believe that some of the comments I read from some “friends” would be repeated in a group situation (since most of it right now is political garbage), what gets to me is the constant shaming of people. If someone is overweight, BAM!, they’re a fat pig, they should be sick every time they look at themselves. A family using food stamps have lazy, useless pigs for parents who can’t contribute to society. Every single person who isn’t in their political party are uneducated slime. All disabled children should be kept inside because they are difficult to look at and might act up (because non-disabled children NEVER act up).
Just this morning someone shared a post about a terrible, horrendous crime. While a family was out, their pets got loose, a pet owner’s worst nightmare. An accident. We hope that the kindness of strangers will intervene. In this case, someone shot the animals and put them in a trash can. The post was so hard to read and I felt for the family so much. Then, the person said that the solution should just be a shot to the head for the person who did it. My stomach turned a second time. We should give the death penalty for animals now? We can’t even get prison time for people who murder other people.
So, I have two choices, I can either verbalize my disgust at the suggestion of murdering someone who killed a dog (do we know the story? Were the animals frightened and try to attack? Was a just an act of wanton violence?) I don’t know the family, nor do I know the circumstances, but I’m not going to suggest murder as a solution. Am I upset and angry to hear about what happened? Of course I am.
Growing up, we had this phrase drilled into us. I don’t always follow it, so I’m far from innocent. Recently, I have considered shutting down my social media, however, I enjoy blogging and seeing photos and such from the people on my friend’s list. However, I spend a lot of time hiding MANY posts some of these individuals post due to their absolute disregard for the feelings of others. With social media, we are now at the mercy of every thought, action and deed of those we choose to interact with. Sure, we have a choice, we can walk away and not read it, not react to it, speak our mind in return and other options. We can unfriend someone who just doesn’t fit into our lives anymore.
I think that this phrase above is truly the answer. “Not having to care” in itself has negative connotations, but so does allowing things to get to you and upset you. You have a choice to move past comments, pictures, quotes and news stories that don’t appeal to you. Being well informed doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your happiness by listening to the droning on of others.
I’ve often wondered if places like Facebook, Twitter and the like are now little windows into the true feelings of others and that I’m just seeing more negative than I need to. Rather than miss out on the joy many of my friends share, the photos of their journeys, their children growing up before us and keeping in touch with those who live far away and feel so much closer through social media, I think I will stay around, but it’s going to be a different experience for me. It’s time to aim for what makes me happy and not let the bitterness, rudeness and hatred of others bring me down anymore.