I wish there was a window on social media that would pop up before you submit a passive aggressive status update or hateful comment that would read, "Are you sure you want to do this? Would you say this if the person was sitting right in front of you?"
Unfortunately, my requests for such have been largely ignored by Mr. Zuckerberg.
With so much of our lives being lived online, there is this tendency to forget that what you are saying on social media can hurt, demean and cut right to the bone of a real live person. I'd venture to say that if the person at which you are aiming your keyboard arrows was sitting in front of you, you would keep that comment to yourself.
Because you would see hurt in their eyes before you even finished your sentence. You would realize the ramifications of your words immediately and perhaps it would sting your heart just as much as it did theirs when you realized the pain you'd inflicted.
Our Keyboard Courage almost never equals our Real Life Courage.
My heart breaks to see people making sweeping generalizations about a group of people with whom they disagree (insert any particular group here: gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, Cat People) all under the guise of "I'm entitled to my opinion."
While it is true that everyone is entitled to their opinion, what happens when your opinion is delivered in such a way that you cause the immense pain to someone else? Is it worth it?
Do you remember a time when you changed someone's mind on a matter through your pithy Facebook comments? No? Then, why? Why hurt people, cut them down and drag them through the mud when you know nothing good can come of it?
Often, I think our tendency to to make trite statements against another online is because we are desperate to feel important. We chase after those little thumbs-ups to let us know we aren't alone in our beliefs as if somehow, that makes us right.
We spew our opinions in the most hateful way and the only change that comes is in the form of a calloused heart that we wear like a badge of honor and another bruise on the heart of the wounded.
We see so much attention given to cyber bullying in regards to the younger generation, and rightfully so, but from where I sit, adults are equally guilty. We just know how to dress it up to look like it's less bullying and more our inalienable right.
There has to be a better way.
What if we considered another's heart more important than sharing our opinion?
What if we our greatest desire was not to be right, to be heard or to be popular but rather to be loving, kind and giving to others?
What would the world look like if our rants were replaced with encouragement?
I don't have all the answers to my own questions. I'm ok with that. I don't need to know everything.
I do know that choosing to love is never wrong.
When faced with a decision to write something laced with venom or to use your words to encourage a friend...choose love.
Post a passive aggressive rant hidden behind a clever rhetoric or remind yourself that even the most astute words can cause harm...choose love.
Garner adulation from others who are prone to leaving a trail of bloody, broken hearts in the wake of their words or...choose love.
Above all, choose love. It is the best way. It's the only way.