On Keeping My Cool in a Hot-Headed World
I am a very calm and peaceful person usually. I do my best to avoid conflict, to be open to ideas that are different from mine, and make it a point to stay as far as I can from angry, contentious people. That seems to be getting harder and harder to do, especially on the Internet. Recently I witnessed another example of angry people congregating en mass to attack a friend who is an author, and I felt my hackles come up. I have found that I can handle an injustice done to myself much more easily than I can one done to a friend or loved one. Every protective instinct gets set into motion, and I want to leap to the defense of the person wrongly attacked. Perhaps the lesson is in learning how to face anger rationally, with calm, with humor, and kindness. Tough to do, I am well aware, but meeting anger with anger only fuels a fire that will consume us all in the end.
I have never understood how someone can sit at a computer and attack people they have never met, simply because they hold a different point of view. Fading quickly are the days of respectful discourse and an openness to new ideas. Now, if you are different, you are suspect, and often hated, without any opportunity to speak for yourself. The faceless accuser is also the jury and judge. We’ve become a country of guilty until slandered guilty, with nobody worrying about facts and reality. People make decisions that are based on heresay, gather together angry like-minded people to attack the target with cruel accusations. I just have to wonder- what would our world be like if these people put all of that wasted angry energy into actually doing something good, into making a difference that would help people instead of harm them.
I see these ‘thumb thugs’ as the biggest cowards I can imagine. Unlike my friend who carefully researches before he writes, who takes accountability for his actions, who is someone that I know is of the highest integrity, those attacking him make wildly false accusations having never met the man or learned the truth about him or his work. They become unhealthily obsessed with sending nasty messages into the ether, with attacks filled with lies and deceit. I just want to say to those people to step away from your computers and find something worthy, something useful to yourself and your community to devote yourself to. All of that anger only ends up hurting you in the end- and makes you look like a fool, as well.
The Internet has brought so much good into the world, but I am stepping away from the anger that it has also brought as a side effect. I am sending good and positive thoughts out to those who presume to know things without having done due diligence, who work to harm innocent people, their families, and their animals, all for the sake of misguided self-righteousness. I won’t engage with them, except to wish them well, and I will continue to support those who are doing good for the world, and help those who are under siege. If I find offensive posts, I delete them. If I don’t like what an author has to say, I don’t buy their books. The same goes for lifestyles, religion, politics- you name it. There is something out there for everyone- you don’t have to agree with it, but you don’t need to attack it, either.
Perhaps the best peace we can find is in minding our own business. My mom used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I do believe there are times when we need to stand up for what is right, and I will always do that. I guess that’s what I’m doing with this post- asking for us to think before we press send, to work to make the world a better place, not one filled with poisonous venom coming from our keyboards. What do you want your legacy to be? Instead of being known as an angry, bitter, and vengeful person, go volunteer at your local homeless shelter, nursing home, or animal shelter. Create something beautiful. Spend quality time with your children. Do something- anything- positive and helpful. As Ghandi said so beautifully, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Try it- I guarantee you will feel so much better…and so will we all. Namaste.