There is a phenomenon that I've noticed for quite some time now. It took people a while... a few years in fact to get brave enough... but suddenly out of nowhere the bashing started. Confrontation from behind the plasma screen grew exponentially. People now could confront others on the WWW and not even have to blink an eye. After all, there were no eyeballs to see... no expressions to notice... we were free to say what we wanted to say. YIKES! Talk about a Petri dish for a science experiment. And I'm sure psychologists no longer have to put any thought into what a good study might be. We are making this much too easy for them!
Students, I'm going to offer some unsolicited advice to you. (And I used to tell this to my middle school science students when I taught body systems.) Just because you have the ability to use something, doesn't always mean you should. Be careful. We have seen example-after-example of the horrors of what can happen when people take to the Internet to "air" and "confront." Now, I know you will likely tell me things like: "But did you see what Adult So-and-So did?" or "Yeah, like you adults have room to talk." and so many others. You are right! We have not been good examples. I am sorry from the bottom of my heart. I truly am! You deserve better examples.
However, I am concerned about your future. I want each of you to be extremely successful. So, again, here are some tips straight from my heart to yours. I hope they inspire and help you.
- When you have been hurt, do not seek to "shout it from your keyboard." Do something a little more constructive. Talk to a professional counselor or trusted adult leader. I hesitate to say this, because I know how this can turn on you, but trust a special friend. And even though you are hurt (and we all get hurt by others), try to talk yourself through what may have caused the pain from the other individual. A lot of times I find myself actually understanding what may have happened, and I find it easier to forgive.
- Do not allow yourself to be drawn up in negative drama. This is 2018 my mantra: Let it go! Seriously, if I do post something on social media, and someone decides to turn what I have posted for positive into a negative... I LET IT GO! There is a delete button. Sometimes I delete my whole post not wanting to stir up controversy; sometimes I just delete their comments. It really depends. I have found when people sling mud...everybody gets dirty. I know... that's deep philosophy right there. But it's true nonetheless.
- Resist negative responding. Yeah, I'm not going to lie to you. There are so many times I want to respond... so many times. But I know when I do... I have given up my authority. What authority? The authority over myself. It's important for me to keep self-control. So my best advice to you is to resist the temptation to respond.
- Do not get caught up trolling negative behavior. It's easy to do. I do it quite often. I have to remind myself that negative drama on social media does not pay my bills, nor does it help me become a better person. So, when I get the urge to read the latest social bashing, I use a little thing called "hide this post." Now you all know that I'm a GenerationXer, so yes, I'm a FaceBooker. But regardless of the media you choose to use, you have a filtering system in place. Use it.
- Combat negativism with positivism. No Negative Nellie or Ned likes a Positive Pollyanna or Peter. Negative people will grow weary of your positive comments and posts on social media. You'll either convert them to positive thinking (which is a goal), or you will cause them to go elsewhere with their negative thoughts. Soon you will find that you (not FaceBook or Twitter) have used your own formula to filter the posts on your timelines, and it took no statistical program to do it.
It's time to end social bashing. No good comes from it. (And the psychologists need to dig a little harder for good research material - kidding - kinda.) Again, the best way to end this type of behavior from your own life is to stop it... don't spread it... don't read it... send it on it's way.
Soft Skills for Seniors
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