A Genuine Response

I love social media, but I think it has created a beast in our culture that is slowly (but oh so surely) eroding our confidence, contentment and communication as unique and beautiful individuals.  How is it managing to do this?  Well, it has taught us that the best way to respond to an idea or opinion is not to simply respond, but to react.

Reacting does not usually encourage or support a posture of curiosity or learning; it isn’t an attitude that wants to understand or discuss.  Rather, it is often a self-righteous and emotional perspective that is wildly and unequivocally declaring one way right and the other way wrong.  When we react, we go from being fellow sojourners in this adventure called life, to prosecutor, jury and judge.

When did we learn that we should always take a side, as if every idea or opinion has sides that need to be taken?

There are many different ways of going about many different things.  We will all handle situations and opportunities differently, and that is so beautiful.  How boring would life be if we all thought the same way and made the same choices?!?!  But when we are constantly writing 5 step blog posts detailing why this choice is wrong and that choice is right, we are hijacking the beauty of our uniqueness and making every issue black and white.

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Don’t get me wrong here – there are some issues that are black and white…  but we’ve removed the grey in about a thousand situations where grey should abound.

Social media provides a beautiful platform to stay connected and make new friends.  It’s a particularly fabulous outlet for us creative types who love seeing pictures, sharing images, and finding community with others who hold the same passions.

But it’s a horrible place to go if you’re feeling a little insecure, a little vulnerable, or at all unsure of yourself.  Why?  Because 9 times out of 10, when you share an idea, or an opinion, or a viewpoint, you will not get genuine responses.

You will get reactions.

Why am I so vehemently against internet reactions?

They’re usually not nice.

They’re often unproductive.

They’re almost always based on incomplete knowledge of the topic at hand.

They tend to be grounded only partially in the original sharer’s actual viewpoint, and then a whole lot in the reactor’s assumptions about their viewpoint.

They don’t foster a genuine sense of community and you can’t ever tell when someone is being snarky, teasing, or actually making fun of you and putting you down.

If you’ve watched any of my vlogs or read any of my blogs, then you know my heart.  My deepest desire is for everyone under the sun to know that they are loved – for hurting hearts to be uplifted, for joy to spread like wildfire, and for a community of people who want to make a difference to rise up and change the world.  Small dreams, yeah?

But with those dreams in mind, it is a constant battle for me to stay positive in cyber space.  Every day I am presented with opportunities to react.  Of course I have opinions about most things, but I am working desperately to keep those opinions grounded in a healthy dose of humility (knowing I’m wrong at least half of the time).

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If you want to know how I feel about a certain issue give me a call.  We can meet for coffee, or sit on the patio with a bottle of wine…  but I will try with all of my might to make this space – this little corner of the cyber world – nothing but encouragement and love.  Ideas and tips for finding joy in every arena of life.

You don’t need a reaction from me.  You need a genuine response.  And I need it from you, too…

So the next time you see a post in your newsfeed that gets your blood boiling a little, and makes you start climbing up onto your horse, or your soapbox, and you are tempted to react – stop.

Ask yourself these questions:

Am I about to be nice?

Is what I’m thinking of writing productive?

Do I actually have legit knowledge of all sides of this topic?

Do I truly understand what this person is saying, or are there questions I should be asking to further grasp their viewpoint before I react?

Will they be able to tell if I’m sarcastically joking, or might my snarky comment hurt their feelings?

If you can answer all of those questions and feel good about it still, then go for it!!  In that scenario, chances are you aren’t actually reacting, you are genuinely responding.

But there is one more question that I think we all need to wrestle with a little more…  And it is this:

Does.  It.  Actually.  Matter.

Because some of the things we are reacting to (with much gusto, I might add) are so inconsequential in the scheme of life that it’s a little crazy.  Life is much too short to waste a single breath fighting a battle that doesn’t need to be fought, or crafting an argument that doesn’t need to be had.

Choose kindness, patience, love, peace, joy, and humility.  Graciously give constructive criticism when it is asked for, and bear truth in love always.

Less reacting.  More responding.

Imagine what would happen to social media if we all did that?!

Much love,

Erin

5 Comments

  1. by Nilo on March 30, 2016  9:27 am Reply

    I was JUST thinking of deactivating my Instagram. It's gone from something I used to enjoy to something that I have to do to keep up with one more obligation. I need to learn a balance.

  2. by Emily on March 30, 2016  2:14 pm Reply

    I am often shocked by the things people feel safe saying on social media that they would never say in real life. the computer somehow creates this false sense of safety that makes people much more bold, in a negative way!

  3. by Nevica on March 31, 2016  3:31 pm Reply

    LOVE THIS SO MUCH! I think I am pretty good at this, but I wish others would give more thought to it.
    Thank you for writing this, I hope it helps people think twice and make places like social media a more gentle/understanding space!

  4. by Nicole Hughes on May 7, 2016  5:45 pm Reply

    Thank you Erin for sharing your precious gift! Photos, music and words. Just beautiful!

    • by Erin on May 25, 2016  7:21 pm Reply

      Thank you lady. Hope you're well!!! <3

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