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Being Repulsed by the Views of Others? Really?

05 Nov Posted by in Random Observations | 1 comment

This morning I heard someone say that some comments they read on Facebook “repulse” them. Really? The words someone types in a little box on a computer screen affect you that deeply? Is it every comment or just the ones you don’t agree with? Are you fine if they ask you to give a goat as a Christmas gift, or send you fifty invitations asking you to send them fish for their collection (still not sure what that’s all about) – but they mention their faith and steam starts coming out of your ears? Is it okay for you to tell me what makes you tick, but when it’s my turn, you call me names and feel personally attacked because I don’t share your passion?

Facebook has opened the door to a world where people connect and feel comfortable saying exactly what is on their mind – whether it’s a plea to save the whales, a scripture verse that helps them through the day, a favorite song, fifty-seven pictures of their new cat, or a monologue tribute to their new pair of flip flops. That’s the whole idea behind Facebook – people networking together to chat about stuff. Some trivial, some self-promoting, some deep, some just plain weird. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to play.

Yes, it’s hard sometimes to see into the mind of others – especially when their thoughts and beliefs don’t line up with yours. But that’s the world we live in. If you haven’t learned that not everybody sees the world the same as you, then maybe it’s time for a reality check. So while it is sometimes annoying and downright hateful sometimes to hear what people have to say – it’s the beauty of what makes us America – the right to have our own beliefs and the right to state them without fear, and to live a life according to OUR principles. Isn’t that what tolerance is all about – honoring the idea that someone believes something different from you? Not having a hissy fit because someone is guided by a different set of values? Not falling apart because someone wants to talk about spreading the wealth and someone else wants to talk about Jesus?  How fair is it to ask someone to respect your views while slamming theirs? Do not talk about liberty and equality for all unless you mean it.

Hey, I am just as guilty as the next person – maybe that’s why I’m writing this, because I am angry at the person who is repulsed by the comment she read. Yes, I point the finger at myself. I can get pretty worked up over comments I read that sound extremely stupid to me and I have to fight the urge to respond with venom. I have to stop and remind myself that people are entitled to their opinion – and maybe I’m not always right. I know, shocking to me too.

Sharing opinions is a good thing. We can disagree and have a perfectly healthy conversation about how we view the situation. We can do this without making it personal – without hating. It’s how we get things done in America – or at least how we should get things done.

When did we start finding offense with everything contrary to us? Why do the words of others affect you physically? Why do we get offended over issues that don’t even affect us directly? Why do you think if someone states their opinion they are pushing it on you? Just because we’re telling you we love our Siamese cat doesn’t mean we are saying you have to love our Siamese cat. We’re not telling you what to do – we’re talking – just like you are. Last time I checked, telling someone what to do doesn’t usually work anyway. Ask my six year old. If you get angry and filled with hate over comments you don’t agree with – then maybe Facebook isn’t the place for you.

Now don’t get me wrong – we are responsible for the words we use. And just because you want to say it, doesn’t always mean it needs to be said. But I will respect your opinion and your belief and your right to say it. I will try not to convince you that I’m right.  And I will love you even if you disagree with me. And I refuse to let your comments ruin my day, for the saying still holds true: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Feel free Facebook friends to post whatever you want to say. I promise I won’t be repulsed by your opinion. And, yes, I realize that by writing this post I am probably offending someone. And for that, I apologize and politely ask that you get over it. Good grief – lighten up people. Somehow we have got to learn how to stand united – diversity and all.

Kelly Swanson, movational speaker

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  1. Laura Stevens11-07-10


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