Social Media Kindness

  • By Brenda
  • 04 Apr, 2017
I recently chose to “Unfriend” someone one Facebook. She was no one I was close to and no one who ever did anything to personally “harm” me. It wasn’t over political or social differences. It was because she was unkind to those she should love the most and watching it felt somehow wrong . . […]
When I read posts such as this, I typically feel an icky feeling in the pit of my stomach, but just scroll on. But this particular person took it too far. She did what to me is about the cruelest thing you can ever do on social media . . . she repeatedly called out those she supposedly loves on a public platform. The day I decided to unfriend her, she had just made a post telling anyone and everyone on facebook how hurt and disappointed she was in her children. She didn’t go into what they did, just something to the effect of “I raised you and you treat me like this. So disappointed.” She gets responses from people … sad faces, “we love you (insert name here) .”  I think those responses come from the awkwardness of not knowing what to say or do, but I think deep down the responder is wishing they had never stumbled upon this post.  And then there are the people just like her that jump on the bandwagon saying how selfish kids are nowadays or how much their own children have disappointed them.  That sick feeling in the pit of my stomach grows deeper.
A couple of days earlier she had posted a supposed “love” letter to her husband in which she declares how she loves him, but then goes on to list how lazy he is, how disgusting he is in ways you would never want printed on Facebook and how they fight and scream all the time, but at the end of the day “it’s all good” and it’s who she loves.
By now my skin was crawling. I scrolled deeper. Posts about how alone she feels because her friends just don’t call her or give a crap (well, she didn’t use that word, but I thought I would go the gentler wording). Another post about how her kids don’t call her . . . this time done as a cute meme, so it is “socially acceptable” . . . another one about loving others means thinking about someone besides yourself . . . and she actually tags people on this post.  And I think of the irony of that post as she is obviously NOT thinking of anyone but herself.
So I was a bit enraged. If this had been an isolated person, I would have simply deleted her and moved on. But so many people use Facebook to be . . . well . . . for lack of a better word . . . bullies. But this isn’t some random politician or person they will never meet they are calling out. These are supposedly the people they  love and care the most about.
I am a Mom of 3 boys ages 22 to 25. They are all in the stages of their lives where they are growing wings and learning to fly. We were all at that age once. We all messed up at that age. Sometimes we flew high and sometimes we flew smack into a brick wall. As we try to navigate this new world of adulthood we make mistakes. We do dumb things. Maybe, as we try to figure out the direction our lives need to take, we become a bit self absorbed. But we all do. The person writing this public rants against her own family is certainly self absorbed, not seeing the harm it will forever do to her relationships.
I have been married for 26 years. He is the love of my life and I cherish my marriage above any relationship on this earth. Is he perfect?  No. Does he say things he shouldn’t or do things he shouldn’t? Sometimes. Do I say things I shouldn’t or do things I shouldn’t? Sometimes. Do I want to be called out publicly for my weaknesses or failures? Is that what loving your partner looks like?
Is posting about your soulmate in a negative way . . . calling him lazy, selfish, etc. to the world going to make him have an “ah-ha” moment and look at himself and say “Oh my goodness, what a terrible man I have become! I must repent and change my ways and be the perfect husband she has always dreamed of?!”
Is publicly telling the world how badly your kids have disappointed you going to really make them stop and go, “Oh dear, I have been such a selfish person. I need to drop everything and make sure my Mama knows she is the number one person in my life and that I am eternally grateful that she went through 16 hours of gruelling labor to bring me into this world?!”
Is letting the world know that your friends don’t think about you and your needs 24/7 and put you above their jobs, family and commitments going to make them hang their head and shame and say “Oh no! What have I done . . . why haven’t I always put my friends needs first? Why haven’t I always noticed if she went for a day or more without posting? As her friend I should always see her needs, know when she is hurting and set everything aside to make sure she knows she is the most important person in my life . . . “
Really?! Do you really think that is how the human mind works? How the human heart feels? Here is the reality of what those posts do and how they make you look.
When you post that your kids are a disappointment or post a meme that lets the word know they don’t think about you or call you enough, very few people are thinking “oh you poor thing.” They may write that, because they are somehow fooled into thinking that is the right response. But inside they are thinking, “This feels wrong. This feels like betrayal. This feels like this person is self absorbed and perhaps . . . dare I say it . . . a narcissist.”  And for your children . . . you know the ones you supposedly love unconditionally . . . now that you have called them out publicly and embarrassed them to the world, how are they supposed to respond? It won’t be, “Oh Mama I am so ashamed. Please forgive my sorry excuse for a son” . . . instead they will feel anger, hurt and betrayal. They may doubt your love for them. They will pull back further and call you less . . . I have even known kids to unfriend their parents. But why would you expect anything less? You told the world they are a great disappointment. They are simply removing that disappointment from you. And in exchange seeing that you aren’t really concerned about what might be going on in their lives, but that you are horribly self absorbed . . . and once again her comes the ugly “N” word . . . a narcissist.
Then there are the friends . . . when they see the meme that says in some poetic way how “all alone in the world you are.” When you post that no one cares. When you say I wish my friends could see how hurt I am, do you really think they will come under conviction and suddenly become the perfect friend you have always wanted. No. Not even close. They will see you as needy, unappreciative of what they do and way too high maintenance.  They will be angered that you made a deliberate choice to make them look bad on a public site.
See the thing is, your kids, your spouse, your friends, they too have this thing called “a life.” They too are busy. They get hurt. They get knocked down. There are times they feel lonely. There are times they feel unaccepted. There are nights they can’t get off the sofa because they are just too depressed. They have more things on their plate than they know how to juggle. They have things called inlaws, kids, commitments, jobs, responsibilities, disasters, heartbreak, devastation. They have a life. Just because they don’t post all of that on Facebook doesn’t make their life non-existent.  It just means they have a filter and choose to let somethings stay private, as they should.
Facebook has become a platform for narcissistic people to post narcissistic things. Dr. Phil once said, “We compare our private lives to others public lives.” In other words, what we see on Facebook. So if my friend is just posting about her new puppy or her new haircut and I feel all depressed and alone, using his analogy I would say, “Oh her life is filled with a darling puppy who loves her and beautiful hair. Her life is perfect.  But my life is filled with depression, loneliness and despair.” In reality the girl with the puppy may be clinging to that little animal as her last hope for feeling loved. She may have incredibly low self-worth and she thought maybe, just maybe, this haircut would help. She may cry herself to sleep each night and feel lost and alone. You don’t know. You don’t know anything about her. You just know she has a cute puppy and a fabulous haircut.
So I guess the point of this post is to just stop!! Stop being self absorbed. Stop being a narcissist. If you love your children, leave them alone . . . celebrate publicly what builds them up . . . a new job, a graduation, etc. but don’t ever use the word disappointment in the same sentence you are talking about your children.  NEVER.
Tell the world when you spouse did something to make you feel loved and special. Celebrate their achievements and strengths. Stop thinking that publicly shaming them will make them suddenly meet all your needs. They are human. They will fail you. You will fail them. Give them grace and you too will receive grace back. Marriage is a 100%/100% all in on both sides. That means grace on both sides. It means having each other’s back. It means thinking of your soulmate first and not yourself. It means not be a narcissist (yes, that pesky word again).
Your friends are busy. Celebrate the times you are able to get together. Take the girlfriend’s day selfies and declare your love for your besties. Post about how fun they are. Post great memories. If they do something to hurt you, pray about it first. If you think you need to address it, call them, send them a private message. But don’t put stupid comments or memes on facebook making it obvious they failed you “once again.” Doing this will not only destroy your relationship with them, it will make others back away from you too . . . viewing you as needy and self absorbed.
So today, think before you post. Be “socially responsible.” Words have power.  You can use that power for good or for evil.  Don’t post mean memes, don’t shame others thinking it will garner you support. Don’t say something snarky and then think it is acceptable because you added a “winky face” to the end of it. Sarcasm can be funny, but if the root of it is meant to shame or make another look bad, no amount of emoji faces makes that okay.
Your kids will call you when you are their ally and not their condemnor. Maybe not as much as you think they should. But no one made you the “phone call police.” No one said you get to decide how much is enough. Your husband will love you, warts and all, if you love him like he needs to be loved. When he knows you have his back both publicly and privately and that you are a team and a team never throws the other under the bus. Your friends will draw nearer to you if they don’t sit in fear of your judgement, if they don’t feel the pressure of your “neediness” outweighs the value of the friendship.
So here in a nutshell is what this post is about . . . be kind. Be loving. Stop being self absorbed. Stop posting mean posts. Stop being a narcissist. Use social media as a place to show love and grace. Don’t be a cyber bully . . . especially to those you supposedly love the most.
Wishing you a day filled with love, kindness, gentleness and thinking of others before your self. May God bless you and help you to see people as He sees them and to see yourself and your selfish motives for what they really are.  If this is you, today is the day to change.  Walk in love.
 

Blessified

By Brenda 07 Jun, 2017
I am so happy to finally be able to blog again!  As many of you may remember I kept hiring website designers that for reasons unknown, kept dropping off the face of the earth.  Finally, in frustration I got the world's thickest Wordpress book and taught myself enough to get my site up and going.  But things kept changing and some plug ins would simply stop working.  My blog wasn't letting me add the fonts I wanted.  More and more issues kept creeping up.   In January, when we ran an ad for one of our shows, a digital code was added to our website to drive traffic.  Not realizing the power of Spambots . . . I hadn't even known what they were before this . . . this code now opened the world to these robots to place spam on my page.  Before we finally switched over to this new site I had . . . get this (almost worthy of a drum roll!)  30,000 spam comments waiting to get on my blog posts!!  It was so incredibly frustrating.  Finally, we went to our team of amazing experts (Katie, Kelly, Melissa and Casey) and had them recreate things.  There were certain things I wanted to remain.  I am abnormally attached to my turquoise barnwood.  I needed my pig logo.  I wanted a similar look and feel to my old page . . . but cleaner and easier to use.  They listened.  They made changes that I wanted.   And they created "captchas" . . . which is where you have to click a button declaring that you are not a robot . . . see apparently Spambots don't have fingers . . . or at least not coordinated fingers . . . so they can't click buttons.  So today I am finally able to blog.  So many changes and exciting things happening here . . . but for today I just want to say "I am back and I am glad you are here, visiting my page."  And I want to say I am grateful.  For something so simple as being able to blog again.  The evil Spambots have been conquered!  Life is good!
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