“To block, unfriend, or unfollow… what do you do when encountering meanness on social media?” This question posed to Facebook friends received over 120 comments… everything from a three-strikes-you’re-out rule to a simple gesture of ignoring what is not appreciated. After reading the responses, though, I began to wonder if to feel guilty or not to feel guilty about it later was a better question…
Over the past decade, I felt the need to unfollow or block but did so with an uneasy heart. Here I was on social media, willfully promoting love and goodness while slamming doors on my constituents. (Some of whom might have needed my friendship the most.) And, too, my daily goal was to spiritually grow; was I running from what I was supposed to be learning from?
To gain clarity, I took to prayer, demanding to know the truth about my inability to handle hate-filled dialogue. This brought in some helpful realizations over the years and if you have ever questioned yourself, perhaps you will find them useful.
First realization was that I was not the Dali Lama! If I could sit on a mountain for long periods and meditate my anger, anxieties, and fears away… if I was in complete awareness and full control of my power and ability to manipulate emotional energy… if I was not an empathic being who feels EVERYTHING, then maybe I could take all the emotional hits.
Every year, I was gaining spiritual endurance but more soulful growth was needed before I could trot bareback across those tumultuous newsfeeds. With social media getting more dangerous every year, I eventually stopped trying to outrun the preponderance of said and was content to just see my mind and body keep up.
Realization number two: The blast from explosive dialogue and hate bombs have the power to stop a beating heart, or at a minimum, make it skip a beat or two.
When I considered my reasons for being on social media included having fun and sharing some daily love with my friends, it did not seem reasonable or safe to leave so many combustibles for all of us unsuspecting scrollers to tiptoe around.
Sure, my soul could always use the exercise, but small doses of extreme negativity were more manageable for mere mortals like myself. Sometimes, it just came down to what I could handle in a day.
The third realization was about salacious solicitations and other scary private messages; everything from threats of bodily harm to public humiliation and porn. Though my daily vow was always to be unconditional about love, years of self-worth training had taught me NOT to be so un-conditional about bad behavior. And let’s face it, even Jesus was allowed to flip some tables!
I started to think… if I would not allow someone to stand at my front door and make sexual advances or spew hateful remarks and threats at me, why would I let it happen here?
My fourth realization was about intuition. I can usually feel the difference between someone with a fake profile or malicious intent from a person who has just temporarily lost touch with their soul. So, I have tried, time and again, to heal situations with certain people.
The truth is I have had heartwarming breakthroughs on here… times when I helped lead people through some darkness. Of course, I had to first acknowledge that I was the one casting the shadows! But that is what unconditional love is all about. The moment we decide to share it, love is already pumping from our hearts. I have found, too, that being un-conditional about love immediately sheds light on my participation in creating and attracting these situations. In other words, the mirror on the wall does not have to tell me that I am not the fairest of them all.
My most loving goal and dialogue sometimes failed, though, particularly when it became obvious I was dealing with a person exhibiting mental illness or addiction issues. I realized seeing my face or reading my positive-minded posts every day was instigating their need to act out. For me, that was the most guilt-inducing aspect… when I went from ally to antagonist and could not help a person up and out of their emotional and mental turmoil.
Which leads to my fifth realization: How truly arrogant is that mentality! Just because I think they need help did not mean they did, nor did it mean they needed it from me. For all I know, blocking was for their benefit; not mine, and their life story might turn out better without me in it.
In these cases, I took to prayer, sending heartfelt, soul-to-soul, apologetic statements into the universe. Then later was shown in the most serendipitous way that this worked. Which is my sixth realization: Never underestimate the need for and power of my love and prayer!
Realization seven was about the righteous line we all walk when choosing to honor our friends’ opinions. As viewpoints change into vile language, gossip, namecalling, trash-talking, lying, and threats of violence, so does my need to honor. In these cases, it did not seem like a prerogative anymore; it felt prudent to unfollow.
I reasoned that reading and reacting to hate verbiage was perpetuating the hate, potentially making me part of the problem. Again, I thought to myself, I would not listen to gossip or name-calling in person, why allow it on here?
Onto the eighth, most enlightening realization that is expanding my tolerance more every day… I exist here, right now, with you and the rest of our earth’s inhabitants. If we are all a part of this timeline, what does our responsibility to each other entail? Sure, we are experiencing all this angst because we are too socially exposed to one another but maybe, we have been granted the ability to be this exposed to one another because we can heal our angst!
Knowing this, I want to embrace my potential to not just overcome perceived negativity, but to eradicate it, within myself and universally. After all, what if it has been put in my view because it is within my purview?
As of today, I do not know what force of human nature it will take to turn our tides of turmoil into waves of willful gain, but I understand my purpose better. I acknowledge my humanness and know, now, that even though I felt the need to block my pictures and posts from some, I have never blocked my heart or soul to anyone.
Donna Martini is a wellness activist, speaker, cartoonist, and author of two books, The Ten Commandments of Divorce and My Mini Book of Mighty Mantras. As an intuitive coach, she helps businesses, non-profits, government agencies, families, and individuals learn how to tap into their full potential through an energy technique she calls Positive Manipulation®. Her cartoon character, MantraMouse, uses simple phrases to help people of all ages come to understand their human complexities, innate power, and potential. Donna can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on https://www.facebook.com/ donna.martini.7. Learn more at www.mantramouse.com.