I try not to give any energy or focus to ‘negativity’; it seems to have enough power already. Also, I don’t want any of it boomeranging back to me if I can avoid it. Having said that, it’s a fine line between avoiding hateful people and situations, and feeling the urge to say something. Maybe…just maybe…by saying something, could words become a pebble in a pond, sending ripples out to those who need to hear the message?
As I write my Blog posts, and re-read what I write, I realize how important humility is. In the writing process; in the whole Interweb atmosphere (which I’m still learning); and in the Life Experience arena. Like that insane (because it seems to be everywhere) YouTube advert that starts with, “Who am I, to write a book?!” Downplay self-doubt, believe in what you have to say, and hope that others will want to pay for the pleasure of reading your writing. Which makes Blogging so liberating for me: it’s a forum for self-expression and sharing what might be common themes in Life, for others to learn, or get a smile from. The satisfaction is not in payment or props (and might never be, which is “ok”).
So this was the mindset behind a recent trip to another social media site, where the discussion in progress happened to be Relationships. (In my view, Relationships are the Center of the Universe.) I made a short entry on the site, which had to do with the all-important-relationship that we have with Ourselves. Self- Love, and Self-Care. Not a new concept, but so under-estimated in value. “For me”, anyway, which is always my disclaimer when I share thoughts about sensitive topics.
Surprisingly, there was an immediate ‘chat’ back to my Post. Astonishingly negative, hateful and sarcastic. The icy-aura that television ghost-hunters say they walk into, in an empty, but so unhappy house. It surrounded me in a swirl of cold colors that felt like a nasty bruise: the deep-tissue, really painful kind that transition from purple to red to yellow. I was the one getting cyber-punched in the face, and I suddenly said out loud, with only the cat listening, “So…this is a ‘Troll’. This is what’s ‘out there’; this is the utter misery in the hearts of some people. This ( social media) might be the only outlet for this person’s incredible pain.”
I’m not naïve. In my career, I’ve had many instances where unhappy (and clinically ill, on several levels) people have vented toward or at me. I can think of only twice where I knew that actual harm could be inflicted if I didn’t take some action. On social media, however, an ‘attack’ is somehow stranger and more disturbing than an angry face and loud voice in real time. The quietness of written expression, but the screaming of the words themselves. Even though I knew what I’d written was benign, it was a clear Trigger for the person responding. A reminder for me of several things; but, most importantly, never to assume we’re all on the same page; or even in the same book, when it comes to the Human Experience.
I didn’t apologize; there was no reason to. I didn’t keep ‘talking’; there was nothing to say. But I came away from the experience feeling like I’d traveled to a new country, ventured into a sketchy part of a major city at twilight, let my guard down, and experienced the consequences. I can full stop and call the World ‘crazy’, or appreciate what just made me a better Traveler.