The internet can be a wonderful thing. It has allowed us to speak with others around the globe, share ideas, and even keep in touch with loved ones. Unfortunately, it has also given a voice to the ugliness of the world. Social media has affected the way that we interact with others. We have grown desensitized to other’s feelings while hypersensitive when it comes to our own. Somewhere along the way, we forgot how to speak life into those around us.
Originally I had what I considered to be a really interesting faith-based post. A few recent events put that on hold. Instead, I wanted to take a moment and call you to challenge yourselves. In a time when we can send our feelings into cyber-space before we’ve finished a complete thought, censoring ourselves has become a lost art. Over time those thoughts and feeling spilled out of our screens and into our everyday lives. Our words hold more power than we would like to think. So before speaking, messaging, or posting, I suggest you consider these 3 things.
IS IT GOOD?
Is what you’re choosing to say good? Be honest with yourself. Miss me (and yourself) with the “good is relative” nonsense. This isn’t to say that everything has to be comfortable and full of fluff. Sometimes the things that must be said aren’t always going to fill the room with butterflies. There will be times when uncomfortable truths must be made visible. What I am saying is that we should consider the intent of which we speak.
Consider how the words that leave your lips – or fingertips – will affect those around you. Sometimes we forget that not everyone is the same. Not everyone has the same tough skin or sense of humor as you. “I’m so sick of the PC Police and SJW’s ruining everything.” Unsurprisingly most of the people who complain about being politically correct are usually just upset that someone has called them out for showing their hide. Far too often we are careless with our words. We lie, we spread gossip and say things that don’t always need to be said. We do this all for the sake of entertainment, hate in our heart, and the need to belong. It’s understandable, we want others to hear us. There is this base need to feel like we belong, that we aren’t alone. It gets dangerous when we would drag others into our negativity just to avoid the fact that we may be.
IS IT TRUE?
This is a personal pet peeve of mine. We’ve all lied, most still do. Whether it was an exaggerated story, a white lie, or even a malicious untruth, we’ve all been there. I’ve noticed that the most common offense is lazy lying. Lies that cost others time, productivity, and often times a little bit of their sanity. Lying because it’s easier than having a real conversation, making any effort, or being honest about your feelings.
I get it. The truth can be scary, but the consequences of being caught in a lie are probably going to be worse than whatever response your truth may carry. The most dangerous thing we do however is lie maliciously. It’s dangerous because it doesn’t come from a place of fear or self-perseverance. Malicious lies serve one purpose, to hurt others. It was actually my observance of this in abundance that prompted me to write the post. Eventually, we need to ask ourselves “What real purpose does it serve? If it is neither good nor true, why say it?”
IS IT NECESSARY?
I saved this for last. Consider if what you are saying is necessary. The introduction of the internet and social media has given us all a platform in which we can be heard. It has even led to the discovery of talent that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Sadly, our ability to communicate so openly has led us to believe that we are more important than we really are. In turn, we have a tendency to say things for the sake of saying them. Usually without any sort of filter.
When we do this, the words we speak are rarely true, good, or necessary. By watching your words you make them more effective. No one likes to be overwhelmed in a conversation. Be honest, we all have that one friend who’s hidden from our TL because they post 10-15 posts an hour like clockwork. Do we REALLY have that much to say? Filtering our thoughts before we speak helps ourselves as much as it does those around us. We’re less likely to offend and more likely to be heard.
It’s amazing how things have changed in the last decade. We have Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and a host of other social media outlets. So much power at our fingertips. As the saying goes, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Social media shapes our culture and our culture shapes our communities. That’s why it’s so important that everything we do is done with purpose. I’m no moral authority and I am far from a public figure.
I think it’s an issue of everything in moderation. We are human, we are going to be entertained by things that may not check every box. Sometimes there’s nothing like a good hearted roasting or wilin’ out on twitter. I’m just saying to be mindful with your words. Your words are a reflection of your soul. There’s no real reason you should take what I say to heart but if anything I said resonates with you then I call for you to challenge yourself. Do better, be better.