I have been thinking about this for a few weeks now, and while this is not something that makes my heart smile, it does have an effect on it. In fact it just makes me feel a bit heart-broken. What am I talking about? A certain type of comment, negative comments to be specific. A while back my closest friend and I were discussing how comments on some of those Yahoo articles were so offensive. A great many of them were racist and sexist remarks. It also happens on Youtube videos, people leave ugly, hurtful, and hateful comments. This has become such a problem that Youtube allows you to vote up or down for comments as well as report comments that are abusive. In fact they refer to the people who leave these sort of negative comments as haters, although the term has been so overused that makes it seem quite trite. While I do believe we are all entitled to our opinion, it is not necessary that we share it with the world. It’s illogical, why would you want to show the world your ugliest side.
While this had been bothering me for quite some time, I had found a way to let it go. I thought of an experience I had when I was a child. I have always found racism offensive, in fact it made me mad and still does. But what I didn’t understand was why people were allowed to make those sort of comments and organize rallies with that purpose. I thought it was wrong, until someone explained to me that the Bill of Rights allowed for my freedom of expression and by the same token it allowed for their freedom of expression, no matter how ugly we find the statement. I then realized that my hate was just matching their hate and all I was doing was escalating the situation and generating more hate. It took me a long time to let go of it. But I have learned to apply this same thinking to negative comments, that while it’s ugly and useless I can do one of three things:
- Let it bother me, eating away at my heart
- Speak up, and start a potential written confrontation
- Find a way to make peace with people who say ugly things and not allow it to bother me.
The internet has brought us a great opportunity, to connect with new people from all over the world and have these wonderful experiences. But just like freedom of expression you have to take the good with the bad. Now we all say dumb things from time to time, I know I am guilty of it, and there have been times that I wish I could retract what I said, but I have never said anything with malicious intent. Intention is the difference from murder and manslaughter. Did you intend to be rude and disrespectful or did you stick your foot in your mouth? Once you go into paragraphs the intention is clear, it is not a mistake in which you misspoke, you deliberately wrote your comment with the intention of hurting the author. These specific individuals feel that they can write intentionally negative things because they are not face to face. In this way they are like all bullies, and in that they are really cowards. I think these hateful folks are in the minority. But sometimes their awful statements are the ones that seem to stand out, the hardest ones to let go.
I hope you don’t have to go through it, but if you do, know that you have my support without question.