There are postings on Facebook that say, “If you show me respect, THEN I’ll show you respect!” Except I think they have it backwards. It should read, “I’ll show you respect first, and if you respect me, fine; if not, that’s okay, too.” How many people go through life expecting others to be nice to them first, and then they’ll be nice in return? How many times have we heard people say, “No one treats me nice, so why should I treat others nice?” What you give, you get in return.
I enjoy Facebook because I have met and gotten to know some of the most amazing people all over the world! Some I’ve even become close friends with even though we’ve never met. They come from all colors, races, religions, cultures, and politics. Even though many of us are different in so many ways, I respect them for who they are and for what they believe. I also use Facebook to try to lift people up and maybe bring a smile to their face. You never know when something you post will be that one positive message that someone needed at that moment.
I don’t mind people sharing their thoughts and beliefs as long as they do so with respect and do not bash any person or group of people; nor do I like arguing and fighting over who is right or wrong. I just don’t want that kind of energy on my page. There have been numerous people whom I have de-friended because of their hateful, bigoted, and ignorant comments and posts. Yet I have acquired an incredible group of friends, most being from the spiritual community all over the world; those who are promoting love, peace, kindness, compassion, and oneness.
The great thing about Facebook is that I have control over who my friends are, what shows up on my stream, and what direction a conversation may take. If I see something I don’t agree with, I can either ignore it, hide it, or if it’s really offensive, I can de-friend. I don’t feel a need to go all negative on someone’s post. It’s the same when I see something on TV or read something in the papers. I respect other people’s right to have their own beliefs and opinions, and I have no desire to criticize, condemn, judge, or tear someone down because of any perceived differences. (This is not to say I won’t stand up for an injustice, but I try to do so in peace.)
I take Jesus’ teachings very seriously when he said to love one another so I try to watch my words and actions carefully. I ask myself, “Am I lifting someone up? Or am I tearing them down?” I’m definitely not perfect at it. There are times when I’ll say or do something in a knee-jerk fashion. Fortunately, it’s not often. But when I do, I feel that loving, spiritual smack on the back of my head and I hear the words, “Karen! This is NOT who you are!”
When was the last time you received a compliment? When was the last time you gave a compliment? It seems easier to find fault and criticize. Complimenting and saying something kind to others are gifts that keep on giving. When you make someone else feel good, they’ll likely make someone else feel good, and on and on it can go. Likewise, it makes us feel good for making someone else feel good!
We currently live in a world where it seems to be so much easier to be negative than it is to be positive, where the bad news gets all the press, and you see so many people just being so mean-spirited towards each other. We feel powerless to change it. Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It begins with us. We need to be very careful of our thoughts, the words we speak, and our actions because that will be the world we create around us. Also, the way we treat others is a direct reflection on our own integrity and character, as well as the way we feel about ourselves.
Albert Einstein said, “I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.” What a great concept to try to live up to! We should ask ourselves… When it comes to our time to leave this earth, how would we want to be remembered? Personally, I’m hoping I can be remembered as someone who loved everyone I could, did whatever I could to lift people up, and maybe, just maybe, helped make this world a little bit better place. But trust me…I’m a work in progress.
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper August 2, 2013.