We are often the pall bearer of our dreams by the words we speak or didn't speak
In the past I have been on “social media kicks” given some of my personal experiences and actions on social media, followed by further observations of social media and it’s “twist” or “grip” on our society. For me, it all began in August 2008. That’s when my profile on Facebook shows I joined. One of my best friends from high school, who was now a professor out in California had told me about this crazy new website called Facebook where you could interact with one another, and he had just joined and thought I should check it out. So I did, and I joined….
As the virgin, unexplored, non-cultivated, intangible land of Facebook began to unfold, I began to be friends with college buddies, high school buddies, vet school buddies, and later family, and so on. Of course, at that point, we weren’t posting pictures of family, or taking the opportunity to spread motivation or inspiration. What I really recall were our first keyboard ninja fights over colleges, such as KSU vs KU…brilliant we were…! Then as years passed, it unfolded into the political trash washer of politics….brilliant we were….! Many other topics popped up as you all know, from rivalries, to politics, to religion, to health, to motivation, to sales, to self help, etc.
Fast forward to today, we have survived, but not thrived in social media land, from multiple elections, multiple societal and cultural challenges, friending and unfriending. All of these things haven’t happened without some scar tissue! If you are reading this, is there someone in your family that has now irritated you with their facebook posts to the point of unfriending or unfollowing or to the point of you can’t stand to look at them? Has an old classmate you were good friends irritated you on social media given their posts to the point of an unhealthy view of them? Has a good dear friend irritated you given their social media posts to the point of not being a friend any more??
For me, I can answer yes to most of these questions, and I’m certain I’m not alone. I think there are literally millions of people in this same boat. We all have been affected, even if we think we haven’t. And the question is, where do we go from here? Social media isn’t going away. The question is, how do we learn to navigate this “online” world and “social media” world, going forward in a manner that creates optimal and fruitful, meaningful relationships?
I think we start with one simple word called “tone”. We can and need to tone it down. We are all flinging comments like we know it all, when maybe we should be asking more questions. People are talking at each other rather than talking to each other. It’s ok to be wrong! It’s ok to not know everything! Everyone these days seems to be a journalist, everyone speaks like they are the authority. The general tone is strong and heavy many times when we need it to be more curious, by asking questions and listening. We need to be a practitioner not a professor. We need more practitioners than professors! And with every word we speak, every post we make, we are either creating more distance with our words or we are closing the gap with our words to those we are speaking to. Words create ideas, ideas create action. Words make flesh, and words of truth have the powers to save us and set us free, when we are willing to listen. When we are willing to listen, we can receive a sacred gift. The sacred gift of an intangible bond or relationship to create fulfillment and make personal progress.
No one knows how intelligent or ignorant we are until we are until we open our mouths, or start typing and hit send. We have often been the pall bearer of our dreams by the words we spoke or didn’t speak. What are you speaking or not speaking? What is your tone?