I recently took a facebook break. I've never done that before, but I was inspired to do it because one of my friends had in the past and she found it to be an insightful time. She was taking another "break" and I jumped on her bandwagon.
Articles and blogs about the vaccine debate had been flooding my feed. (Before you stop reading this post is NOT about vaccines!) More than anything I read about the diseases or shots I was disturbed by the attitudes of people. People read the opinions or worse, the real life experiences of fellow humans and feel entitled to judge, to argue, to blame. To debate their belief or experience, to debate the choices made by another human.
I find the lack of basic human compassion both shocking and disappointing.
Regardless of the topic, this trend to judge, shame, argue, debate and impose is ever present.
I have seen it in regards to everything: birthing choices, health choices, schooling, co-sleeping, breast and bottle feeding, discipline, spirituality and religion.
Most of the comments I've read, a person would NEVER dream of saying to another persons face, stranger or not. I have never once shared my story with someone in person and been met with the kind of abuse and hate I see happening online.
Where are people's compassion?
We live as though we believe it would be great if we could control everything; sometimes our comments imply we even wish to control the decisions other people make. But do we really want that much responsibility?.. including being at fault for any undesirable consequences? Are we really so sure we are absolutely "right"?
We want to believe we can control the aspects of life that are simply UN-controllable. It would be amaze-balls if people could say definitively, without a doubt it is ALWAYS best to X-Y-Z... But we can't, because we have this beautiful thing called variety, and uniqueness and choice; and nothing is one size fits all.
The good news is I can control me. I can be mindful of my thoughts, association, beliefs, and choices. I can do my best to make the right choices for myself and my family, and I can do others the honor of crediting them with the same best intentions; thereby choosing Compassion... even if for no other reason than it feels a whole lot better.
I can be open to learning, to the possibility that I could be wrong. I can realize that when I click on a link to read someones story, it is not my right to be angry with them, to argue them, or to shame them. When I read someone's story, it is my right to realize that it is just that it ~ is THEIR STORY, and it is just as true and valid as is my story.
Hopefully I will choose Compassion over Judgement.
This is a call for COMPASSION!
Imagine you are looking the person in their face. Hearing their voice. Seeing their tears of loss. Let compassion be more important than being right or justifying your own choices. Realize that everyone has so much more going on than you can possibly imagine, and show Compassion.
IMAGINE our grandmothers getting together and judging one another as harshly as we do online. Our grandmothers had this thing called community. Person-to-person connection. Face-to-face hugs. Sharing and support.
Am I being idealistic? Probably, and still I just have. to. say. something.
So after my two week facebook break, I logged on to add some photos... Only to feel like I needed to write this and take another break. I got sucked into the news feed, which surprise surprise is still full of vaccine debate, and hate, and people calling each other ignorant and other names. No one is "hearing" each other. No one is using their senses to feel or offer support. No one is stopping to think about the real, live person on the other side of the screen who has their own very real stuff going on; their own just-as-valid reasons as you.