Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Leave the Hate at the Door

Sometimes it's tough to be a fan of...well...anything.

Why? Because there's always someone around to ruin your joy.

Declare your love of a television show? Someone is there to declare how there are so many plotholes and it's so unrealistic and why would you love that show?

Enjoying a trip to one of your favorite destinations? Someone is there having a cruddy time and rubbing in how horrible this trip has been and raining on your vacation parade.

Celebrating a holiday? Someone is there ready to be politically correct or incorrect and say how wrong the other side is on this whole non-story that they are making a story.

It can get frustrating.

In a world of social media and eight thousand different ways to communicate with people, we have taken those gems of dislike that used to be reserved for a few close friends and blown it up to affect pretty much the entire earth.

Sometimes that kind of communication is incredibly effective. And other times? It just results in negativity streaming all over the world. Negativity that, as a result, breeds more negativity. It just spawns and spreads and makes everyone hate each other.

Is that what we want?

I'm not getting deep here. There are some things that are very much wrong, and for people to think they are okay is...well...not okay.

I'm just thinking about the little things. Should I use my power as a blogger to write about how much I dislike a certain movie franchise? What good will that do? It just results in me finding more people that share in my negativity. Yay. That makes me feel so good.

Should I declare on Twitter that some musician is horrid? Will the musician notice my tweet and immediately think, "Man, I need to step it up to make this one person like me"? That won't do anything. If anything, my refusal to purchase that person's music (and not declaring it on social media) will do the work.

And don't get me started on politics. In the world of Facebook Politics, there are four words that sum up every single political post I've ever seen, regardless of affiliation:

"I'm right; you're wrong."

Why do we need to post this kind of stuff? In Math, two negatives make a positive. IT DOESN'T WORK IN LIFE. Two negatives make more negatives because they think that's the cool thing to do.


I love people that take their loves and spread that around. You love that television show? Good for you! I don't, but I'm not going to be a troll and throw sand on your fandom fire.

Obsessed with a song? Feel free to post eight different cover versions of it. I'll just smile and scroll past it. I don't need to force you to quit it.

Are you going to listen to me if I say that you are a horrible person for appreciating something that I don't? (I've seen way too many posts that imply this very idea.) Heck no! You're just going to take that comment and create negativity in yourself, and spread that to the people who agree with your negativity, and I'll do the same with my negativity, and before you know it, we've created the Infinite Negativity Loop.



I learned some important lessons when I did some work in China a few years back. The most important thing was that, in order for someone to open themselves up to you and be interested in what you have to say, you have to form a relationship with them. Find something in common. Create something in common. Leave your hate at the door and show your love. When they see your optimism and friendliness, they'll start to ask you questions about the things you believe. They won't be shut off from it - they'll listen because you've established a positive, friendly foundation.

We as a society don't spend enough time establishing that foundation. As a result, our negative actions cause the relationships to crumble.

As we enter this season where most of us think about love and friendships and peace, think about how you can spread that love and friendliness and peace. Make that positive foundation a priority instead of shooting shaky relationships full of negative holes.

Because if the foundation of positivity is laid, then the true, honest, positive conversations can begin.

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