This morning I spent some time reading articles online and poring over the comments. I was on Facebook reading people’s opinions about all sorts of things. I left my computer feeling depleted, fatigued and slightly irritated.
Here’s the issue; vitriol and negativity exhaust me. Reading comments in which people attack others for their beliefs and opinions is depressing. I don’t engage in pissing matches online. Heck, I get enough of that raising three kids and trying to keep peace in my house. Even when there is a debate that I feel passionate about I remind myself, “don’t take the bait”. It’s bait. It has a lovely fishy odor that I would love to chomp on but I will not participate.
Here’s my suggestion; before you post anything online run it through a simple filter. There are all sorts of them out there just pick one. Something I teach my young yoga students sounds like this, “When you are about to say something to another person, like when you’re sad or angry, ask yourself these three questions, ‘Is it true, is it kind, is it necessary?'”
Obviously this is not the filter we would always choose when posting or commenting on an article. I made up a different one awhile ago and it works pretty well for me.
“Is it something I could say to someone in person? Could I meet a person at a party, share polite conversation, have a glass of wine, and then say this thing? If not, I’m not posting it.”
People hide behind their words online. We are such a plugged-in society and I wish we could collectively slow down and think before sounding off. Words are power and with power comes responsibility. Hateful speech is an abuse of power.
I am under no illusions that this little post will influence any haters but maybe after putting it in print I will have the courage to call one of them out. But of course that would be taking the bait, wouldn’t it?