With the modern tools of communication at our disposal, there are fewer and fewer occasions where information is sent through the mail. In the “old days,” if you received correspondence that you didn’t want, you simply threw it away and went on with your life. Now, in the social media generation, if you receive an unwelcome email or read a Facebook post that rubs you the wrong way, you feel compelled to attach an emotional, and commonly biting reply.
When I see these replies and this mindless, virtual banter going back and forth, I find myself shaking my head. “I don’t get it,” I say to myself. “I don’t understand where all of the seething anger came from – it’s an email for goodness sake. Wouldn’t it be quicker, easier, and better for your blood pressure to simply hit the delete key and move on with your day?”
Maybe it is part of my enneagram (personality) to prefer to keep the peace, but why the hatred? Why such disdain for those out there in the cyber universe who are simply using today’s vehicles to spread their message? The Today show recently ran a report about children engaged in “cyber bullying.” Are you kidding me – it even has a name? High school wasn’t hard enough if you weren’t one of the fortunate – now you have to deal with the entire school receiving text messages and Tweets about what a loser you are…oh, that must be fun.
Here’s the point…If you receive an email, or even a blog post like this one, why not just politely request to be unsubscribed? We coach our members to focus on responding affirmatively to situations, rather than reacting to them. Reactions are emotional and typically don’t get you very far. For example, the next time you walk outside and you have a flat tire, throwing your keys to the ground, cursing like a madman, and kicking your car will probably not result in the spontaneous re-inflation of your tire.
If you react to things with anger, the anger is already inside you and is looking for a place to exhibit itself. There is nothing wrong with a contrary point of view, and the new communication tools of Yelp, Trip Advisor, and other social sites live and die by user reviews, both good and bad. I’m not saying you shouldn’t share your opinion – just look at the tone in which you reply.
When choosing between being right or being kind, choose kind – it will serve you very well.