I’ve always said that inspiration comes from the most unlikely places. Based on today’s title, one could say I’m definitely reaching both extremes. Confucius is well and widely known for his philosophy and is responsible for the way of life known as Confucianism. Clark Kent is, well… Superman. Although a fictional character, inspirational quotes and knowledge have often come from such sources, albeit never credited to the writers who actually created the script. But I digress… My point is that both these sources have used a quote that I’ve been pondering of late.
“It May Be Easier To Hate, But It’s Stronger To Love”– Clark Kent, Smallville Finale
Although I had firmly stepped away from social media in all its forms about three years ago, I’ve been allowing myself a soft return to the uncontrolled arena. This seemed like a natural next step to help share this blog, as platforms like FaceBook allow sharing on a broader scope than simply hoping people will like and follow directly from the blog, and my YouTube channel allows me to provide some “in person” perspectives on certain topics that don’t require me to cite sources or quotes.
For the most part, it’s been reasonable. I’ve even managed to make contact and reconnect with some people I haven’t spoken to since high school, which has been motivation enough for me to actually spend time on my personal accounts as opposed to interacting solely as The Blogging Buddhist. In recent weeks, I’ve come to notice a trend of negativity from a select few that I’ve known as friends for some years. As many of you are aware, the elimination of all forms of suffering is kind of my thing and negativity is very much a means of causing further suffering in the world.
The big problem is that despite being consistently negative and more often than not, spreading hatred, these select few don’t necessarily seem to be aware of it. But the effect is palpable. When you log into a social media platform and realize that every little thing a person posts is calling out, complaining, hating or boycotting something, it begins to weigh on you. Even when the topic of the post may not be about you. Negativity breeds negativity, and the more someone feeds negative energy into the world, the more it will negatively impact the people around them. It usually doesn’t matter if that negative energy was MEANT for a good purpose.
I found an article posted by the Psychology Spot that explains that psychologist from Harvard University concluded that “negative emotions are like the flu: the more friends you have that have the flu, the greater the chances of getting infected, the same applies to sadness and despair.” It’s pretty hard to disagree with that, when you can be in a perfectly good mood only to be brought down or “bummed out” by the simple act of someone else’s constant negativity. Negative energy is infectious and spreads like a virus.
“It Is Easy To Hate And It Is Difficult To Love.”– Confucius
It can be difficult to be around such people when they breed negative energy on a constant basis. It’s even more difficult when they refuse to acknowledge or recognize their negative behaviour and consider it a personal attack on them when it’s brought up. I was the recipient of just such an attack recently, when a long time friend took my attempt at discussing an issue as a personal attack and began berating me for bringing it up. I didn’t necessarily oppose this person’s view, I was simply trying to offer up a perspective to help this person understand why the anger and hatred wasn’t necessary. The unfortunate side effect was damage to a long-standing friendship that could have been avoided.
So what is one to do about such situations? Block or unfriend such people? Delete all social media once again? It can be rough waters to navigate, but my main concern is wondering what’s gone so wrong in these peoples’ lives that cause them to be in a constant state of anger and hatred. Setting aside for a moment the fact that I’m a firm advocate of the “scroll on by” theory, where if one disapproves or is unhappy with something posted online they should feel free to simply scroll on by as opposed to becoming an armchair warrior and try to argue the point. But the reality is that if/when someone posts something on a social media platform, it needs to be understood that they’re inviting and even welcoming comments and discussion. If one does not want comments and discussion on a particular topic they post about, then the simple truth is that they should not.
Obviously, this is all opinion-based and it can be difficult to discern where the line is between one’s opinion and common sense. But there seems to be a growing trend of people constantly using social media platforms to spread their anger, hate and misinformed opinions. In both my personal and professional life, I’ve always considered it of the utmost importance to get the full story before taking action or speaking out against someone/something. But misinformation aside, the physiological and psychological effect that a constant state of anger and hatred has on one’s own body is measurable. The effects it has on those around can also be noted.
There are always battles to be fought. Such is the world we live in. But knowing how to pick your battles and being reasonable and level-headed about them are of paramount importance. Especially when it may lead to suffering and loss. As for myself, it’s given me a significant wake up call in regards to navigate the world of social media. I’m once again on the fence as to whether I’ll close up shop and walk away or if I’ll weather the storm and simply filter out the bad. Time will tell. ☯