Opinions on The Internet

I’m kind of terrified to write about anything that could be remotely considered an opinion these days. The Internet is an amazing, but scary place. You can find information on any given topic and no matter how rare you feel like something about you is, 99% of the time you see person after person who has that in common with you. The computer is a fantastic place to connect people with one another, to rally around each other for causes or through hardships, and feel less alone in this big world. It’s a great way to gain knowledge and learn how to be more empathetic, and can be an incredible tool to help others.

I think most people are good and mean well. We all want to make the world a better place, we just sometimes have different ways of getting there. The biggest thing I see people fight about online is politics, but I’ve seen vicious arguments about something as trivial as whether Chips Ahoy or Oreo cookies are better. I see Republicans and Democrats fighting right and left (No pun intended), name-calling and bashing each other for having different solutions on getting to a similar end goal. Each and every one of them thinks their plan is the best way to bring peace on Earth and end great amounts of suffering in the world — they just disagree on the practical steps it takes to get there. Instead of realizing that they are, in fact, on the same team, people yell at each other and resort to name-calling. Rather than wondering why someone might feel there is a different solution, people remain stubborn and set in their ways, and neglect to open their mind to other ideas. It’s really dangerous when we stop critical thinking and forget how to communicate effectively with others. 

Politics is the easiest example to give, but I clearly am not going to be starting a blog talking about current political events, so why should I feel worried about being attacked on here?

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I am afraid to write about my opinions because people on the Internet can be so darn mean about nothing. I see celebrities bullied on a daily basis just for sharing their lives with their fans, and I see well-intentioned posts by girls in Facebook groups get attacked because someone was offended by the way something was worded. Everyone wants to be a social justice warrior so damn badly that they forget the people they are tearing down are human beings with hearts and feelings too. It’s so ironic. In my mind, these people just have one type of person they feel compassion and empathy toward — those who think the exact same way that they do.

One of my favorite quotes by Martin Luther King Jr is,

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

Another great one is,

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

If you want to talk about tolerance and love, the first step is to be tolerant and loving. This means loving even those who are wrong.

MLK Jr is someone who truly understands what it’s like to be treated poorly, but chooses kindness anyway. He was a pioneer who changed life drastically for people who were not being treated well. He isn’t known for being offensive, rude, or condescending — rather, he is known for being kind and compassionate, even when he had every right not to be. He was the King of peaceful protests, and fought seamlessly for what was right while remaining calm and respectful. I think we could learn a lot from the way he handled conflict and injustice.

The truth of it is, we live in one of the most unforgiving times ever. A tweet from an angsty teenage version of someone ten years ago can completely destroy a career, a “like” on Instagram can lead to death threats, and voicing your opinion can be one of the scariest and bravest things you possibly do, especially if it is unpopular.

If the world keeps moving this way I think we’re going to miss out on so many creative minds. A world like this doesn’t promote creative thinking, rather it screams that you need to fit into a certain mold to be accepted and loved. I believe bullying is one of the worst things human beings are capable of doing, and I think there are so many online bullies who have absolutely no idea that they’re actually the ones who are being cruel. I’d love to see people ask more questions and find out why someone perceives the world differently than they do. Instead of trying to cram ideas down someone’s throat, find out why they believe what they do and have a civil conversation about it. Agreeing to disagree is what makes America such a great nation, and I hate seeing this notion getting flushed down the toilet with the age of the Internet. Great things will start happening when we learn to work with each other, rather than choosing to focus on and fight about our differences.

Behind The Scenes Vs. Highlight Reels

One of my last posts was all about comparison when it comes to body image, but today I want to talk about comparing your love life to others’. Valentine’s Day was just a few days ago, and I absolutely loved seeing all the posts with pretty things, sweet words, and romantic gestures. I also always look forward to the single posts about treating yourself or having friends as Valentines. It has been my favorite holiday since exchanging little notes and mini candy bars in grade school, and I prepare for the holiday the same way many do for Christmas.

This year Valentine’s Day fell on a really bad day for me. I had a bunch of doctor’s appointments, including an evening one that went until 7:30, and I didn’t have much of an idea of when I would be finished beforehand. Since I knew I would be absolutely exhausted, I told Robert I wanted to keep things low key and that we’d just have to play things by ear the evening of and do something for Valentine’s the following weekend.

As the day went on, though, and I kept seeing how people were celebrating I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy. Ahhhh, no, I thought. Am I really starting to compare my day to what I am seeing on social media? I’ve always been pretty level-headed when it comes to taking everything I see with a grain of salt, but I guess my deep love for Valentine’s Day was beginning to get to me. It didn’t help that I had gotten bad news in the middle of the day (I have to protect the privacy of the person involved so will not be talking about it), so I was kind of cranky.

Poor Robert, I thought as I realized there wasn’t much of a chance he’d win the day.

I regretted my decision to not celebrate on Tuesday, and although I was genuinely happy for my friends who were going on super-fun dates that night, I wished that would be me too. I wished I would have canceled one of my appointments, and I wished I would’ve just chosen to have a normal day of celebrating, rather than feeling sick after my physical therapy appointment. I had become the girl we all giggle at — the one who says not to worry about doing anything, but doesn’t really mean it. Yes, I had meant it at the time, but who would have thought my mind would change so fast?! Oh, that’s right. Anyone who has been in this situation before would have known. Now I know what that “crazy” girl feels like and why people always advise guys to ignore whatever they say. There was a hilarious episode of The Kane Show on Valentine’s Day about guys who listened to their girlfriends about not wanting to celebrate this year, and then regretted it because the girls all of a sudden flipped a switch and wanted to do something. Apparently I was not the only one.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about this because my Valentine’s Day post got over 100 likes (Which is a decent amount for my social media accounts), and everyone knows I have a boyfriend and am not celebrating alone this year. From an outsiders perspective, I have it all going for me, and I was one of the people who had the “perfect Valentine’s Day.”

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The problem with our generation and social media is that we are comparing our own “behind the scenes” moments — hardships included — to other people’s highlight reels.

We have these expectations of life that are completely unrealistic because we are so used to seeing perfection in the online world around us. Life is not perfect, nor is love. They are both beautiful, but a big part of that is learning to love one another through the imperfections and rough patches.

Now, just to be clear, Robert did take me out to dinner and did give me a very sweet Valentine’s Day present. One thing I do really love about him is that he treats me so well every day of the year, so I do think he’s hard to beat for a special occasion. This post isn’t at all bashing the evening we had together, rather I am trying to make a point that you absolutely cannot compare your own very real life to the lives you see crafted online.

Today’s lesson: I said it in my last post, and I’ll say it again. “Comparison is the thief of joy” (–Theodore Roosevelt). The more you can live in the present and focus on yourself, the more you will learn to feel content with what you have, rather than longing for things you do not have.

Facebook Is Actually The Bomb.com

Breakups are hard enough on their own, but when you keep seeing your ex everywhere you go it makes things a lot more difficult. That’s why social media can be tough. Regardless of whether or not you are seeing your ex at work or school, you definitely don’t need him in your house or at the gym with you too!

One thing that can be really dangerous these days, though, is social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all of those pesky sites can make forgetting about your ex and moving forward with your life a real pain in the butt.

Somehow I’ve never really had a big problem with this when dealing with breakups, though, so wanted to share some of my insight and advice.

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First, block your ex on everything you can possibly think of. Block him from texting and calling you, block him on Facebook (don’t just unfriend — block. Blocking is better because you will not see him on any of your mutual friends’ pages and you won’t be able to send each other messages). Block on Instagram, Twitter, whatever else is out there. As I mentioned in a Facebook status awhile ago, you may need to do it on strange sites you wouldn’t even think of like Spotify and Venmo.

Second, get a bestie to come over and clean up all of your social media that might have things with him left over. For example, I had my best friend save a bunch of sweet voicemails from him “just in case, [we got back together].” I realized pretty shortly after that I wouldn’t need them back, but at the time it is a little easier deleting things when you can get them back again if you want them. Then she “unfollowed” a lot of his close friends and family on my Facebook for me, and untagged our most recent pictures together so I wouldn’t accidentally see any of them pop up anytime soon.

Third, box up all of his stuff, then shove it in the attic! If you’re not fortunate enough to have a tucked away attic you can get creative and use a closet, a cabinet, or whatever else you won’t be seeing at all in your everyday life. For me, this was the guest room. Do not contact your ex asking if they want any of their stuff back — this is just opening a door you do not need and offering another opportunity for both of you to get hurt. You gave him things, just as he gave you some — the only item you are ever really obligated to give back is an engagement ring. If you don’t have that, just call it even and move on.

Lastly, have an accountability buddy you can text whenever you feel like texting him. This has never a big problem for me, as I like to quit things cold-turkey. I do know, though, that even I would get reminders that would be hard or hurt, and enjoyed having a best friend to lean on when times were tough. She was someone I could cry to if I missed my ex, or just rely on her to have a little conversation about why it was good we broke up. Having someone to text instead of him is so important so that you don’t slip up! Real friends will understand this struggle and be more than happy to help — after all, they might need you for the exact same thing one day and will be grateful to you for listening.

Overall the best thing to do in a breakup is be kind and gentle with yourself, even if you do backslide. Ending any sort of relationship is hard, and good for you for deciding you didn’t want to settle for someone who isn’t right for you. Even if you were the one who got dumped, being strong and realizing that there was likely a pretty good reason for the breakup is a great start.