I’ve deactivated my Facebook account three separate times in the past couple of weeks, mainly because I got my feelings hurt. (If you’re new here, my feelings are hurt very easily. Let’s just make peace with it.)
In the bigger picture though, I did it because we’ve collectively forgotten how to be nice.
And I get it. I do. At the time of this writing, nearly 90,000 people have died. We’ve lost loved ones. People are worn down, and scared, and anxious, and staring at a whole hell of a lot of unknowns. People are losing jobs, businesses are going bankrupt, people are going hungry, our mental health is suffering. There are protests. There is violence. There are inequities.
We’re scared. We’re scared. We’re scared and we’re pissed off, a combination that is…. volatile, at best.
A few days ago, I posted a link to an incident at a Target in Van Nuys, California. There was an altercation over the requirement to wear a face mask, and an employee’s arm was broken. I guess the (positive?) thing is that the result was a broken arm, not a death like the case in Flint, Michigan. The truly terrifying thing, which I said in my post, is that I’m no longer surprised to see these headlines.
To say that tensions are high is a gross understatement.
In the course of ensuing conversation, I used the phrase, “lost their minds,” and I was promptly reprimanded. (Paraphased): You’re everything that’s wrong with the world today. We can disagree without name calling. We can be civil adults. What makes you think you’re better than everyone else?
Pot? I’m the kettle. You’re black.
Now, could I have used a softer phrase? Sure. Could he have been kinder in his response? You bet. But we’re skipping kindness in favor of being right, and it’s made me so, so tired. So tired that I immediately deleted his comment, deleted my post, and deactivated Facebook.
We’ve forgotten how to be kind.
And to be fair, there is a lot at stake here. Disagreements aren’t just regular disagreements anymore. These disagreements are quite literally about life and death. People have drawn clear lines in the sand, and whether the stance is a political one, a scientific one, a moral one, or just a gut-feeling one, we are all holding on for dear life.
But does anyone truly, truly believe that it’ll help someone else see our perspective if we’re beating them over the head with it? Because that’s really not how it works.
I am scared to click publish on this one, probably more scared than I’ve been on any post before. Both because of the, “did I say what I meant to say, and is it going to be completely misconstrued” fears, and because it is such a fragile, volatile time right now. More fragile and volatile than anything I’ve ever experienced in my 46 years on this planet.
But I’m going to publish anyway. And I’m going to hope against all hope that when we share/post/comment about our feelings about what’s going on (and to be clear, I do think we should be talking about it. It’s important.) that we can all – myself included – do so with a little more kindness.