Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Pledge

My mom is going to be so proud.  I am making a social media pledge of kindness.  Let me explain.

This afternoon, I logged onto the emotionally-toxic dump that is Facebook.  The first post I saw was an awful image equating our president to Adolf Hitler.  It made my stomach turn, and I felt my skin crawling with the fire of anger and disgust.  My first instinct was to comment and challenge the poster's thought process.

But I did some deep breathing instead, and hid the photo from my view.

As I read some other non-offensive updates and slightly intriguing headlines, it dawned on me what the crux of the problem really was (of course, aside from the fact that as a Jew, I felt personally offended).

Who does that image help?

I've often tried to be a helper - in my jobs, as a friend, mother, advocate, community member, grocery store consumer, cancer survivor.  Doing something has always been more comforting than doing nothing.  In a crisis, I love an action plan.  It's probably something to do with that deep need for control.  Life can be uber frustrating when one reaches a feeling of helplessness.

Perhaps posting these types of disturbing images gives people that sense of control they are lacking in other areas of their lives.  They disagree with the political leaders → they express their feelings a la Facebook → they feel better.  In turn, though, others may feel worse.

What now?  I went back to my own page and sifted through the articles and updates I've recently posted.  I was looking for something offensive or insulting, and I'm super relieved to say that the most offensive post (at least from my perspective) was a link to a Colbert Report piece on the Ham Rove Memorial Fund.  While this was quite hilarious in my opinion, I can see how a Karl Rove supporter might feel it was a tad disrespectful.

This brings me to my pledge (and a brief explanation of my mom's pride).

I hereby promise...
- to post images and articles only in SUPPORT of good health, effective educational practices, and safety for all.
- to promote positivity and kindness to others.
- to focus my updates, pins, and tweets on the good stuff.
- to try to be a helper, not a hurter.

I guess my aspirations are twofold.  First, I value the whole practice-what-you-preach mentality.  Second, since attending my monthly meditation group meetups, I am beginning to buy into the theory of Karma.  Since life doesn't really make sense right now, I'm practicing lots of deep breathing, and banking on it sorting out on the next go around.  If we all continued to send out warm, loving thoughts into the universe, well, I don't know what would happen.  I don't imagine it could get much worse than what we've got.  Maybe we should give it a try?

My mother is known amongst a few of my friends for her famous words, "Mia, be nice."  Also, "GIRLS, be nice." (Girls becomes a two syllable word in this usage - guh-rils)  She's always longed for a nice daughter.  Now at least she'll have one on social media.  I can't speak yet for how this will impact real life.

What are your thoughts?

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