Wednesday, November 7, 2012

One of My Many Flaws

I have to learn when to shut my mouth.

There's a reason why they say that you should never discuss politics or religion in polite society.  It's because you will inevitably offend your friends.  And probably not just one.  You will probably offend at least a handful of them.  At least, if you have my luck, you will.

Today was a bad day for me to get on Facebook.  So was yesterday.  Yesterday I managed to show some restraint though.  I knew that I would see posts about the election that I really didn't like and I told myself that I wasn't to get on Facebook.  For the most part, I was successful.  I did open my laptop to do something else and Facebook popped up right in front of me with a big, glaring "...something, something, something, OBAMA!" right in my face, so I quickly closed that tab.  Other than that, I was anger-free and all of my friends still liked me (to my knowledge).

Today was an entirely different story.  I had the better sense to stay away from it yesterday, so why not today?  Wasn't today going to simply be filled with the aftermath posts?  Bitter losers and sore winners?

Yes.  That's exactly what today was.

My newsfeed blew up with political posts of all kinds.  Some were kind or decently celebratory.    I do need to give them credit.  But others, not so much.  Some people were just upset about losing, but many people were bitter, enraged or just felt like everything was completely hopeless (at least for the next four years).  Unfortunately for me, I had to open my mouth on a few of these political posts and say my piece.  Most of the time, I think I conduct myself decently.  I'd also like to think that I write and express myself well enough for most people to understand what I'm trying to say.

Today, I failed spectacularly.  I upset more than one friend today, including one incredibly wonderful gal in my ward who I definitely was not trying to offend.  As a side note, I generally try not to offend others, but on Facebook, I figure that if I convey myself well & someone is still offended, it's not my issue anymore.  However, when I commented on her post (which wasn't nearly as bad as some of the others I'd seen today), I explained my position using a "general you" type of explanation, but it really did come out sounding as if I specifically meant those things about her.  I always reread what I've written if it's long and political/religious, but since the explanation made sense in my own head (and I felt so passionately about the subject), I really didn't take the time to see that this might offend her rather than explain my views effectively.

I've been feeling kind of sick about this for the past couple of hours since all of this transpired.  I'm pretty good at being emotionally walled-off when people try to make me feel guilty for something that I truly don't feel like I did wrong.  However, when I do end up doing or saying something to hurt someone, it makes me feel completely sick inside.  After rereading what I wrote from her perspective, I completely understood how she could come to the conclusion that she came to about my words.

I feel strongly about politics and America's political atmosphere.  One of my strongest feelings is for the need for everyone to be fair, honest and respectful.  Because of this, I find it hard to restrain myself when I see things that don't seem to fit my own personal definition of "fair, honest and respectful".  It doesn't mean that the things that people say are or aren't that way; it's just my own perception.  And I need to think about what I'm reading much more carefully before I speak.  Or write.

I will be working to exercise caution while posting on Facebook from now on.  Perhaps this is a New Year's Resolution in the making?

1 comment:

Jessica Havican said...

I know if anybody can make it right, you can. Now you have me wondering about this post....