We live in a very strange world where it has become the norm to criticize others-to hide behind a screen and to spew hatred to complete strangers. It is no doubt that a national crisis such as the Florida shooting can inflame these actions, but that’s not the only time we see it.
Just the other day, I was watching an adorable video of some puppies. A harmless video, but when I scrolled through the comments, it was one after the other; hate-filled comments directed toward the user that posted the video, to the commenter, and so on. When did we create such a negative outlook on our daily lives? When did we learn that it is okay to take away someone’s happiness in order to lift our own spirits?
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, you name it, they are all vital tools for enacting change and giving a voice to the voiceless. Social media is the catalyst for the millennial generation and, without it, it’s difficult to identify the milestones we’ve achieved.
But how did we let this tool become a platform for negativity? And more importantly, why aren’t we talking about it? That is precisely my point. We live in a foolishly selfish world in which we are unable to comprehend the fact that other opinions are valid. Social media should foster a discussion rather than an argument.
Ever since I was little, I’ve been told that I need to become a lawyer. I used to think that this was an insult to my character; I thought it meant that these people that I looked up to considered me to be a back-talking, know-it-all. Maybe that is what they meant by it (backhanded compliments for the win, right?). However, now I take it as an amazing compliment. I take it to mean that I can think logically, that I can think quickly, and (my favorite) that I can see many sides of an argument.
And this is exactly why you’ll sometimes see me disappear from social media, especially in the wake of a national tragedy. I’m naturally intrigued by any article that shows up on my timeline (you’re welcome, clickbait, I keep you in business. “You’ll never believe this!” “Oh, I betcha I can!”). I’m always interested in hearing a different opinion because chances are, that article will mention something that I’ve never thought of before. But, because of this, I’ll find myself overwhelmed by the opinions and overall very conflicted because there are (and will always be) valid points to each side of the argument.
When this happens, there are a few things that I like to do to remind myself of the person that I am and the person I want to be.
Focus Your Thoughts
First, I like to take some time to focus my thoughts. I find it really important for me to pinpoint my beliefs on the situation before I go out into the world of social media so that I have a clear understanding of what I believe to be right and wrong.
Talk It Out
Second, I like to have a conversation about the situation with my most trusted friends. This is a great way to talk through what your understanding of the situation is and it can help you understand other sides of the situation. I’ve been blessed with amazingly tolerant friends who are able to listen to my side of the argument, explain their side, and most importantly, relate it back to their faith and how their politics affect their relationship with God. I could have conversations with them for hours about one single topic. Find these people, you need tolerant and loving influencers in your life.
Understand Your Personality
My favorite book of all time is Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talkingby Susan Cain. I discovered it when I was a senior in high school and it has influenced the way I have lived my life ever since! The book explains the differences between introverted people and extroverted people and how we are not always exclusively one or the other. I love to listen to this as an audiobook whenever I’m feeling stressed or uncertain about my place in society. Just put it on while you’re getting ready in the morning, driving to work, or decompressing after a long day.
So, there you have it, folks. I hope this post helped you process what’s going on in your life. As always, feel free to share this post! And don’t forget to follow me on social media!