Life is too short to be angry all the time. This week I was reminded in spades when I heard that a long-time friend of my family had passed away unexpectedly, and another friend’s father went home last Friday. Both men lived life to the fullest, and you never heard a negative comment from either.
There were times we disagreed with each other, but their views were always respected, as were mine. Today, with the prevalence of social media, the same can not be said about some interactions there. Bullying and hate pervade many threads because we can hide behind a keyboard. Or, we do not respect other’s opinions; in kind, we do not respect the individual tied to that opinion which we disagree.
Because of this, I have taken a hiatus from engaging on social media. Not because I do not enjoy the interactive community aspects of it, but because the political and personal rants are so pervasive, that it makes the whole experience negative.
When we always live in a “glass half empty” mood, we cannot truly engage in meaningful conversations with our significant others, family, or friends because we are so hung up with “how bad” or “how stupid” or “how wrong” the people and the world has become.
How many times have you seen this type of interaction on social media?
“Person A posts about any political topic.”
“A so-called ‘friend’ comments with a meme disregarding the other person’s view because it did not fit with theirs.”
Instead of understanding that everyone can have their own opinion and deserves respect, they bully others with a belief their view is the only correct view.
Bullying is never acceptable.
Then there is this social media behavior.
“Person A whines about the service or treatment received because they believe they are entitled to have people fall all over themselves to take care of them.”
“All the comments from their friends reinforce this sort of entitlement behavior.”
However, there are indeed times when the service is lousy, and the organization needs calling to task, but not because you were inconvenienced by something.
People who find fault with everything either in the ‘real’ world or their ‘social’ world are positively miserable individuals. The older I have gotten, the more I realize that I cannot deal with their negativity because it rubs off.
What do you mean, “it rubs off?”
When we continuously intake negative thoughts and ideas, our thinking becomes jaded and cynical as well. Not because we are naturally negative individuals, but because negativity and anger breed negativity and anger. And, to avoid being caught up in the negativity, we must disengage or risk getting sucked into the abyss.
How can we avoid the negativity abyss?
By trying to redirect their negativity, but if that fails after several attempts, and the individual demonstrates that they are “happy” in their “unhappy” place, it is time for you to move on even if it hurts you in the short term.
Instead of anger, we must…
Come together in love and support, and work to make a difference.
First, instead of getting angry about someone’s political post and firing off your negative rant about how ‘stupid’ your friend is for believing that way. Just ignore the post and move on. They have their opinion, and you have yours. There is more online bullying over political views than any other issue.
Respect their differences. Quit bullying.
Next, help someone going through a rough patch instead of berating them about their decisions. We all make ‘dumb’ choices that come back to bite us. I have in my life, and I am sure you have, too.
Support them unconditionally and intervene when necessary to help them see they matter.
The world will be a much better place once we can put aside differences and discuss the real-world issues we are all dealing with like taking care of those less fortunate. Or, finding common ground with people of differing political, social, or mores than us.
The only way to do this is to stop long enough to listen to the other person and understand that there are always two sides to every point of view. Your opinion is NOT the only truth. Depending upon circumstances, the other person’s opinion may be closer to the truth even if that is hard to admit.
The bottom line is, for me, to not engage in the negative behavior taking place in the world and on social media. And, to call out bullying when I see it.
To move forward and come together, we must respect each other’s social, political, or other position even if we do disagree. Then, both parties can debate with logic while understanding that at some point it is all right to ‘agree to disagree.’
I believe if we take this approach to not only our social media interactions but our everyday interactions, we can slowly but surely make the world a better place for all of us.
What have you done in your world to change the tone of your interactions? Tell me about it in the responses.
One small ripple can create a tidal wave of change; it is time we work together to stop the bullying and start respecting each other so that we can live together in harmony.
If you liked this article, I believe you will enjoy these.
- Perseverance — Success after Failure — The Tiger Woods Story can be Yours as Well
- 2018 Politics — Can America Start Listening Again?
- The Desecration of ‘Silent Sam’; Or, the Ruination of Calm, Rational Debate in The United States
Change the World by Changing How You Interact with People was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.