Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

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As much as I love the ‘family’ atmosphere of WordPress, there are just as many of us who become the victims of trolls. For those of you who don’t know what a troll is, I looked up Wikipedia. Whilst they get some stuff wrong, I think they are pretty spot on with this definition.

In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtrl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally[3][4] or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[5] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[6]

This sense of the word troll and its associated verb trolling are associated with Internet discourse, but have been used more widely. Media attention in recent years has equated trolling with online harassment.

Whilst a person has the right to write or say what they wish (it’s called freedom of speech) at some point, the moral compass should be engaged to scrutinise what is about to come out of a person’s mouth/mind/keyboard. Unfortunately there are people in this world whose moral compass has tilted off-kilter and see it as their given right to bring others down with no thought to just how much damage their words can do.

A favourite blog of mine who I have followed for some time was written by a man with the pseudonym Opiniated Man (or OM for short). OM amassed 29,000 followers over the period of 8 months. Whilst I may not have agreed with what he wrote all the time, I applauded him for saying what he believed. He has as much right to an opinion as I do. I would never in a million years, go onto his blog and tell him to change his ways or views. I found that he engaged his followers in friendly debate and agreed to disagree on many occasions. I wish to add, that this is only my perspective of the man and my dealings with him. Over the past week, OM made his blog private due to some issues he was having with a troll and then he came back. Now he has gone again and withdrawn all presence from social media and email. The last post I received by email said the words “Now you’ve bought my children into this, you’ve gone too far”. I couldn’t read the rest of the post as the blog is now gone. Whilst I am upset by the fact that the blog has gone, I am more upset that another person has caused this. And to bring innocent children into the argument is definitely a no-no.

Bullying in all its forms is abhorrent. We spend so much time focusing on schoolyard bullying in its obvious forms that we forget that we as adults engage in bullying in far more subtle ways. Some of these include exclusion and gossip. Then there are those who impart ‘helpful advice’ without being asked to. Think about your workplace and see if you notice some of the subtle bullying that goes on. Have you ever walked into a room and the conversation stopped and those in the room looked guilty? I have. Whilst it may have had nothing to do with me whatsoever (my paranoia said it did), it causes a person to become uncomfortable. Any time that we make another person uncomfortable by our words, thoughts or actions may be deemed as bullying. Note that I didn’t say that it was bullying. Because in all honesty, there are times in life that we do these things unconsciously and without any malice whatsoever. This post is not about those times. It is about those who consciously and purposely expose another person to hurt through their words and actions.

I just don’t understand why people in life feel the need to bring others down. Do they gain some sense of satisfaction from it? Is it because they are so insecure in themselves that they need others to feel their pain? I don’t know. As a child I was taught respect. Through life, I have learned that our words are every bit as lethal as a blade of steel. Contrary to the popular children’s rhyme about sticks and stones, words will (and can) hurt you. They may not leave a tangible wound on your body. But they certainly leave a wound in your soul.

I try to live my life with compassion and love for others. I try to understand them. However, I am human and I just don’t understand other humans sometimes. 😦

Have a blessed day 🙂

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37 thoughts on “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

      1. Hee hee! Both. I’m getting over my paranoia though and I’m proud. The bullying, especially over the internet where a person can hide behind a computer to say such awful things annoys me.

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  1. I saw some of what you mentioned happening on twitter. I enjoy blogs that are controversial in their topic but see no place for rudeness. There is a huge difference. It’s the same in life, we can all agree to disagree but leave it there…making the world interesting yet not dangerous.

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    1. I agree. Why be rude? You either agree with someone or you don’t. It doesn’t have to go into bullying and name calling.
      And as for Twitter – I’m just not understanding that concept just yet. (Although I post my blog posts to Twitter).

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      1. Twitter moves a bit to fast for me. I’m trying to work through it. I like the concept of writing down short thoughts though. I try to tweet and reply to people but I don’t know the etiquette yet. When I learn a bit more I’ll fill you in 🙂

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  2. Thanks for your thoughts. You are so very right. Words leave much more pain than beating up, because the marks from beating up disappear in few days, but the words go to our mind and hurt for very long time.
    I think, those bullying people have a terrible life themselves, otherwise no reason to try to take other people down. But this is NOT a excuse for bad behavor at all.
    About OM, he do his best to answer all of us in a kind way, no matter what he is writing about. And he has the right to use his blog, as he wish too. No reason to try to take him down eather.
    Irene

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    1. After years of emotional and verbal abuse, it took me a long, long time to heal and rediscover my self worth. Abuse or bullying of any kind is so wrong on so many levels.
      And yes he has the right to use his blog as he wishes. It’s not our place to judge his words.

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      1. I have lived with both kind, and also know, how long time it takes to recover, which was difficult enogh. I also try to be kind to other people and follow one of Dalai Lamas ways as: If you can’t help, at least don’t hurt.

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  3. Great post! I’ve been frustrated with the whole OM ordeal too. Blogging is all about freedom of speech. It’s also our own personal blog to run and maintain as we wish. No one has the right to ask (or tell) someone to change it. This community should be bully free and it’s disappointing to see such juvenile behavior on here. Thanks for bringing this up.

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    1. Thanks. I’m so terribly disappointed that this young man has been attacked. Whilst many would say that he deserved it with his outspoken comments, nobody deserves to be slammed. This man is just that – a man. He has his own personal demons he is battling as well. What gives another person the right to drag another down?

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  4. Fabulous post Suz – thank you for writing this – I am left quite bewildered by it all. Your words here made me think of THE first post I did when I started my little blog. Hope you do not mind me linking here to point you to it – I know you will understand why FULL well. 🙂
    And thanks again for your kind words and all your encouragement to many –
    Motivational speaker you say? I would look into that if I was you 😉
    http://idiotwriting.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/the-poets-soul/

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    1. Spam!! Spam alert!!! 😛 JK
      I agree with your post. It is correct. Words can leave terrible scars on a person’s life.
      I guess the whole point of this post is about bullying in general. The whole OM thing just added more fuel to my fire. 🙂
      Thanks for the encouragement on the motivational speaking.

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      1. You just got SPAMMED ma’am!!! 😀
        Yes – I don’t know the whole story – just picking up bits and pieces all over the place. One day there – writing poems for the new sight – next day – ‘poof’ – true OM style 😀

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  5. I was following OM too. Although there have been times when his opinion has been strong, he was always careful not to name anyone in particular and always made it clear that it was his opinion only. Sometimes I would voice my opinion in his comment section. Of course, I always would use tact. 😉 I miss his blog. 😦

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  6. I heard about this on Don Charisma’s blog, I commented there too. There was a post by OM where he was upset with another blogger who had recently gotten over 1 million views. OM was upset because the other blogger credited his writing skills for this achievment, OM thought this was not possible, that the blogger had to have used other social media to get so many views. I think the mistake OM made was in naming this blogger, putting up a link to his site. I didn’t really have an opinion either way on this but I could see how it could have started a fued. I don’t know if this is the cause, just a theory. I hope OM’s blog is back up soon, I really enjoyed his writing and that of his guest bloggers.

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    1. I didn’t read the post so I am unsure what provoked it all. I do know that it generated into personal attacks.
      I have no opinion at all on what they were discussing however in all of my dealings with OM I have found him polite and professional.
      I guess the whole point of this post was that bullying is out there and is in no way acceptable. I just used the OM thing as a catalyst for the post. 🙂

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  7. Great post Sue! I just came across trolls this morning for the first time. I watched an interview on uTube with one of the Sandy Hook victim’s father on retreat. He asked Thich Nanh Hanh what could have prevented the killings…… the Zen master replied by saying that we need to take care of the young people who are suffering and don’t know how to deal with their own anger and inner violence. Two things from this:
    1. Bulliies are suffering human beings. They are also victims and cause pain so they don’t have to deal with their own. Every one wants to be happy and they behave in ways that they think will make them feel better. We need to find compassion for bullies in order to prevent it being passed on from generation to generation.
    2. Back to the trolls …. they were making comments that Sandy Hook was a hoax. The people were bad actors. The father was a felon and drug addict. No one died at Sandy Hook.
    It makes me sad that people resort to this.

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    1. That is so terribly sad. Why would someone create a hoax that involved the loss of lives of young people?
      I have several of Thich Nanh Hanh’s books and I find him a gentle and peaceful soul. I agree that everyone is looking for happiness in some form or another. Some just go about finding that happiness in the wrong way.
      Have a lovely day 🙂

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