Mean is Easy
These 3 words, 10 characters, 1 phrase has stuck with me now for over a week since I saw a video posted on Facebook of a graduation speech where the speaker made this point. It’s ironic to me because I remember 5 or 6 years ago, my Facebook feed was covered in negativity. I never saw positive, uplifting, motivational movies, speakers or posts.
Every time I logged in I saw sadness, couples fighting, lost hope, death, desperation, people starting to give up, and just meanness. I noticed that the effect of reading these posts, of being immersed in social media with all of this negativity was really starting to bring me down. It started causing me the same emotions, the same thoughts, the same mean spirited feelings.
Which is unusual for me. I’m not normally a mean spirited person. In fact, plenty of people who read this have known me for years, some my entire life, I’d challenge them to name one bad comment I’ve ever made about anyone. I’m just not the type of person who gossips, talks trash, or puts others down, I’ve never seen the point.
But during this time, I was really tempted to give in. It’s so easy to follow the bandwagon. It’s so easy to agree with and partake in evil, when it’s surrounding you. I see mobs and looters in videos and I wonder what these people are thinking, how they get roped into that chaos, but being roped in is easy.
Mean is easy.
I am convinced more and more that we start becoming who and what we surround ourselves with. Sometimes quickly, sometimes it takes a bit longer. But eventually, over time, we start to adapt some of the same thinking. The same attitude, the same traits. For better or worse. And living in that social media arena of negativity, surrounded by hatred, I was afraid that I would eventually become what I was surrounded by because it became so easy.
One of the most difficult things in life, I believe, is disagreeing and speaking publicly against your peers. No matter what it is. Your friends think Lebron is awesome, you don’t, I bet you’ll keep that opinion to yourself. We saw this in the election, people who liked Trump and were going to vote for him, were not telling anyone that they liked or were going to vote for him.
People are afraid of being in the minority voice.
5 years ago I was that minority voice. Eventually enough was enough and I needed to find the positivity in my life. And if I couldn’t find it externally, I would become it internally. And so I started bringing positivity to my Facebook. I didn’t do it for anyone but myself. Day after day a new quote, positive inspiration, anecdote, life story, I posted it to my Facebook. And as I would scroll through the hatred in my feed, I would see my post and remember to smile.
Man – People. Were. Pissed. Positivity? In a negative world? It was a rebellion. I was staging a Facebook coup. Challenging mean is difficult. Speaking truth to the mob. Speaking positivity in a world of negativity. It was so difficult. I was literally accused of seeking attention by people I thought were my friends, all for posting positive messages. Positive messages on my personal Facebook. Because mean is easy.
Think about that for a second. People said if you post positivity, it’s because you are seeking attention.
Well as you can imagine I didn’t quit. Eventually it became habit, and people started commenting. Telling me their own positive stories. Posting their own quotes. Inspiring me. After some time, I was not the only one posting positivity in my news feed. Day 366 rolled around and I was able to read my “On This Day” section and see posts I made, comments my friends had made, and start my day off positively.
And no lie, every day I start off reading the Facebook “On This Day” section. And I am inspired. Every day. It wasn’t easy, by any stretch of the imagination. I lost “friends”. I had trolls, I had people create fake accounts, I had some of the rudest, meanest comments made about me and to me. Because being mean is easy.
I’m not saying that you can’t feel or express sadness publicly on social media. I think the way we mourn, our ability to be authentic to our friends and family online is extraordinary. It’s a community of support that can surround you 24/7. Just by typing a message or sending an emoji. As long as we have people in our life who are empathetic. And can help us mourn, but also find positivity.
Today in society positivity isn’t easy. And maybe it’s not meant to be. Looking for the ray of sunshine, the hope to hang your hat on, the strength to carry on, it’s not a walk in the park, but I’d much rather focus on the positivity, even in my darkest hours, than to give an ounce of my energy on mean.
I’ve written this post 5 different ways now over a 72 hour period. And at the end of it all, it now comes down to one question… Are you going to choose to take the easy way, to give in to meanness, negativity, and hatred? Or can we work together to combat the negativity with a little bit positivity.
Let’s make mean a little less easy, and a little more taboo.
Let’s make hope easy, by inspiring, encouraging, and supporting one another.
Let’s live life. Let’s love life. And let’s do it… together.