There are pros and cons to most things in life and social media is no different in that respect. It has allowed people to connect to the people they know and are close to and it no longer matters where in the world they are.
One no longer needs to remain out of contact with someone for too long and so although they may live in different countries, they can still stay in touch with each other. This could be something that happens every few minutes or every few hours, and it no longer has to be weekly, monthly or even a yearly occurrence.
And not only is it easier for people to stay in contact with each other, it has always made it easier for them to speak their mind and to say things they wouldn’t usually say. When one is face to face with another, it is radically different to talking to them on a screen.
So this can mean that what would have remained unsaid to another person is now being said. In this sense, it could be said that people have become more honest. One no longer needs to hold back and to keep their views to themselves.
When it comes to speaking to another person in the ‘real world’, it is easy for one to feel uncomfortable and they can end up saying what they think the other person wants them to say or what is acceptable in the environment they’re in.
For example: if one is in a social environment, there are going to be certain expectations and behaviours that are and are not acceptable. Based on this, one might find it hard to be honest and to express themselves.
However, while there can still be certain expectations on the internet, they not the same as if one was in a social environment. When one is talking to another person on social media, they have what is going on in their mind, a screen and the responses of the other person.
And through being behind the screen, they’re likely to feel a lot safer than if they were face to face with another person. So whether one is being abusive, critical or just expressing how they feel, they are not as vulnerable as they would be if this exchange was taking place in person.
What this shows is how social media has given people the chance to be more honest and to say what they really think, as opposed to saying something else or keeping their views to themselves. But while being honest is often seen as something positive, this is not always the case.
This is not something that is black and white and it can all depend on the context that one finds themselves in. At times, it is going to be important for one to keep what is taking place within them to themselves.
Think Before You Speak
Before social media was around, there was greater pressure for one to think before they opened their mouth. Through thinking, one could reflect on whether it would be appropriate for them to say what is on their mind or to express how they were feeling, for instance.
But with social media, this is not something that always takes place and one can end up saying whatever is on their mind. And because it is so easy to do, one can end up feeling as though they are entitled to say whatever they want, no matter how destructive it is.
Human beings have a brain and this gives them the ability to think before they act; they don’t need to act on pure impulse or without thought. This gives them the ability to reflect on the impact their behaviour will have on other people and if this will lead to negative or positive consequences.
Just as having a conscience and the ability to empathise will allow one to think about the people who are around them and to respect their personal space. And there are going to be times when one will need to keep their views to themselves in order to refrain from harming another person and to respect their right to exist.
There are going to be moments when ones thoughts and feelings are destructive and have more to do with oneself then what is taking place externally. During these moments, one will need to contain their experience and to take responsibility for what is taking place within them.
When one doesn’t contain what is taking place within them and directs their inner experience onto the external world, it is bound to lead to problems. If one is focused on being honest and expressing their views their focus is on themselves and not on other people.
It then doesn’t matter what affect their behaviour might have on other people, the only thing they’re focused on is saying what’s on their mind. And through being behind a screen, one can end up being oblivious to the impact their words are having on other people.
Now, if one doesn’t have a conscience, it won’t matter if they are aware or not, as they won’t care. But even if one does have a conscience, they can say what they want without needing to be exposed to the effects their words are having on others.
So there is what is taking place externally and what is taking place internally, and although there are connected, it doesn’t mean that what is taking place externally has caused what is taking place internally. What this means is that it is important for one to own their inner experience, and not become another source of destruction in the world.
For if one is in pain, they can own how they feel and get the assistance they need to move through it, or they can direct it towards other people and cause them to suffer. This assistance can be from a therapist, healer, support group or a trusted friend.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.