I run a FB Group, The Gratitude Challenge. Are you a member? If not, you should join, it's full of positive posts, challenging others to focus on what they are grateful for each day.
Recently, Harold, a long-time coaching client, posted, "I'm grateful that I've tested positive today."
I immediately thought, "Oh no! Harold has the COVID-19."
But instead of responding, I paused. I know Harold. I'd just chatted with him on Friday, his post mentioned nothing of COVID-19, he loves quotes, and I realized, he wasn't talking about a sickness, but his attitude."
Sneaky, sneaky Harold!
I scrolled through the comments, "You mean negative? If you tested positive means you have the covid virus in your system."
And "Hopefully you mean negative!"
Oh, those sweet ladies that responded. I know they were probably concern for his well being and thought he'd made an error with is words. The mistake happens all the time. No harm and no fowl in this case.
But what happened on this post is becoming a pandemic of sorts on social media. And unlike this post, our country is becoming divided due to words people are speaking. And at the end of the day, I'm not sure we are solving any problems.
The interaction got me thinking and I realized, there were a couple of steps I took before responding, and I think maybe moving forward could save each of us a lot of heartache and maybe a friendship.
First, I didn't immediately respond. I almost did, but I paused, and reread the post.
Second, I thought about the person that made the post. I know him well, which made me look at the post in a different light.
Third, I responded with a comment asking for confirmation about the meaning of his post, I didn't assume. "Knowing you...you're talking about your attitude!"
The conversation today reminded me there is a gift we can give our friends and even strangers on social media. It's the gift of pausing before we comment. It's the gift of knowing the person and their heart. I don't know about you, but often what I feel in my heart doesn't reflect properly in the words I speak or write. I often think, "That didn't come out right." If we don't know someone's heart, then it's hard to respond to their post. And finally, don't assume you know what someone is feeling or thinking at the time of their post. Engage in conversation, ask questions, maybe message the poster privately, or do like I've trained myself to do and don't comment at all.
The last gift, on don't comment at all, is a hard pill to swallow. It's taken great willpower for me to keep scrolling and keep my mouth shut. How I react comes down to asking myself a couple of questions, maybe you could use these also.
1) What value is my comment brining to the conversation?
2) Is my comment positive and encouraging?
3) Is what I'm posting bringing us to unity or division?
Usually my response is no, no, and division. The only time I post is if my answer is yes, yes, and unity. This not only goes for comments, but rules I try to follow when making a post.
There are a lot of little gifts we can give our friends, and even strangers on social media. Be the person that helps to bring positivity, encouragement and unity to your little neck of the world. If we all did this, we'd be a happier, less stressed, and anxious society!
Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of "The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life" and “The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life”