I’ve decided two things recently. One, I want my blog to be a safe and thoughtful place—no angry or cruel arguments from the outside or from me in response.
Secondly, I won’t be disrespected. I will respect anyone who respects me. I will get rid of anyone who doesn’t.
Someone posted a blog comment today on my blog that was upsetting.
I started to get angry. It was over the top; I’m not a tabloid for people to satisfy their twisted needs and curiosities.
The post was offensively intrusive.
A reader had been counting and monitoring the number of times I wrote about my son-in-law (my daughter and granddaughter are coming tomorrow, and Jay, my son-in-law, has to work) and made some assumptions about our relationship.
She said there must be bad blood between us. Her conclusions were false, and the subject was none of her business.
No stranger has any reason to ask a question like that publically or privately. It really is none of her business.
Sharing my life is not an invitation to crawl inside of it. Sharing it is not giving it away to people.
I got ready to reply. I stopped. I felt the old blood rising.
I remembered I have new software for dealing with nasty or inappropriate comments.
I call it my Troll- Killer And Deleter. My Web designer helped me to learn how to use it. It was always there; I didn’t know it. It felt good to use it. I think the online hostility left me feeling powerless; I just got my power back.
So today, for the first time, I deployed my new device to deal with social media’s growing hostility and rudeness.
I don’t want to become what I hate or what hates me. That’s just what they want. It’s not who I want to be.
I won’t post cruel and dishonest comments and get drawn into defensive arguments that make me no better than those assaulting me. One friend wrote me to say I was better than that.
I think I am now. It was harder than I thought.
I feel a little foolish; I wonder what took me so long. Anger is not a good thing for me or anyone else I know. I have a lot of in me.
But my blog is not about arguing and trading insults. My spiritual work has radically decreased my anger; I feel so much less and less frequently. Sharing flowers is a lot better. This blog is a nice place to come, a respite from the chaos – that’s the idea. It’s the story of a life, a living memoir presented differently.
That’s why all the photographs are free, and I want to give something back to the many people who have supported me and made my life here possible.
I have taught myself to stop, breathe, and not engage when I feel it rising.
My new delete and block button feels very good to me. It takes a second.
I have figured out how to use the software on my blog controls that permit me to block a message at the same time I delete it. It worked perfectly.
I didn’t feel the need to reply or stew about the arrogant intrusion of someone into my life. I started to reply and deleted my reply and the message simultaneously.
I am careful with my anger. Anger should never be answered with anger.
I share what I wish to disseminate; that is not an invitation for anyone to shadow me and pry or diagnose my life.
Too often, I took the bait. I didn’t like what I was becoming, and several very faithful readers wrote about it, suggesting I do something like this. They disagreed with my way of responding and told me so.
I heard them.
I finally took their advice to heart.
I’ve only blocked six people in more than 15 years. It’s not something I like doing. I’ll be careful. I need to hear dissent and disagreement for selfish reasons.
But I don’t subscribe to the idea that social media gives people a license to probe my life, lie about my family or me, or accuse me of awful crimes I have not committed.
Disagree with me all you want; challenge me as often as you wish. But do it civilly and respectfully so that I can treat you civilly and respectfully in return.
I do, and I will.
I won’t be disrespected, invaded, or treated rudely and cruelly, not on my blog.
I have a Delete And Block button now, and it’s easy, and I know how to use it.