Sunday, March 30, 2014

changing our reactions...

Social media and other Internet functions are a great way for people to connect, express opinions, learn about the world, and gain new perspectives and experiences. I've always liked that about these sites.

Now, though, there is something that I really need to get off of my chest, because keeping it in is driving me bonkers.

The problem with all of these sites and resources is that often, the posts and ideas get turned into negatives. People constantly search for the hole in the argument, or the bad feeling that most likely came from behind the opinion. The tiniest hint of bad feeling or racist/sexist/bigoted/misguided/silly/whatever is latched onto, and the offended party then nails the original speaker for those obviously shallow, naive, and prejudiced statements.

Why does it always have to be a fight? Why can't things just be let alone?

For example. This whole explosion about moms who like to go all-out (or overboard, depending on your rhetoric) for holidays, birthdays, and the like -- who cares? There shouldn't be a reason to put moms or dads or whoever likes to party on the defensive because they like something and act on it. There shouldn't even be an attack!

OR. Selfies without make-up, commonly tagged as #nomakeupselfie. Okay, yes, to me it's a little weird that people broadcast the fact that they're not wearing make-up, particularly in a world where we're so self-conscious and worried about it. Maybe it's a little arrogant, or insecure. Maybe it's brave, or perhaps just normal. But. Who cares? It's just a choice, whether they're supporting cancer research or not. So, if someone feels a need or desire to tell people about it with a hashtag, who cares? Why is that all of a sudden a horrible, terrible, awful thing? Who cares?

Why do we care so much about what other people are doing that we feel this desperate need to write some mean-spirited or vengeful reply to tear down those who think and act differently? Why are we so caught up in the social media exploits of other people? I ask again, who cares? Is this really that important?

I know, I know. If someone reads this article and finds a hole in it, or thinks that I'm misguided, or believes I'm missing the point, I'm going to get blasted for it. Because this post is an opinion. It's my opinion about what I see as people getting so caught up in the way others are living their lives that they stop living their own. And I see it as incredibly damaging. Why argue things that don't really matter? Why take a side on an issue that really isn't that big of a deal?

I can see why though. Don't get me wrong -- after all, I'm taking the time to write about this, meaning that I feel passionately about it and it's bothering me. I'm sure that's where most of this stems from: our reactions to the actions and lives of others. And so what do I do? Go write a blog post about it. I'm being a hypocrite. I know it. I'm the first to say it, without fear or shame. I'm including myself in this, too. Just because I can use a computer doesn't make me the sole authority on this, or anything. I'm as imperfect as anyone else.

But seriously. Think about it. If we're constantly judging the lives and values of other people, what does that make us? Obviously, judgemental. Shallow. Prideful, even. Let's all just calm the heck down and remember that there are a lot of other things in life to worry about. Even better, there are a lot of other things in life to find joy in. So let's stop with the shaming, the belittling, the rejection, and the judgement. We need to change the way we react to things.

How, you ask? Well. For starters, ask if whatever it is actually matters. If it does, think before acting on the initial feeling. Basically, as I see it, it's simple. It's about real life -- what we have here and now, today and maybe tomorrow. It's bridling that emotional response and asking, will this matter in five minutes? In five months? In five years? Should I be caring about this? Or is this just distracting me from what's really important?

Let's just focus on what we have right now: this day, this moment, in which we -- not that person on your newsfeed or Twitter page -- are living.

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