A friend of mine recently wrote this on Facebook: "Words hurt in any form, and can damage not only the subject of the post, but also the person posting hatred."
We've all done it (or a few of us anyway, including me.)
You are upset, enraged and red in the face.
Logging into Facebook, you quickly type in a quote, a song lyric or a simple sentence that seems fitting for your anger.
After typing the flurried words, you hit "Post," that all-powerful button. There it is. Posted for all to see. Maybe you have 10 friends or 800, and they can see it on your wall in all of its glory. Those "friends" can also tell their "friends," and so on and so forth.
Immediately afterwards, it feels good. Satisfying even.
A few minutes go on, and you start to feel a bit uncomfortable.
The clock ticks by and you start to feel unsure of the post that felt so good to write.
And then you remove it.
I've done that many times before with immediate regret that I ever wrote such a thing on my Facebook wall.
Here's the problem: The damage is already done. Although I just removed the post I had written ten minutes prior, so many of my acquaintances have already seen it. The evidence is gone, but it will live on in some people's minds.
I tell myself, "It's okay, I'll learn from this mistake." But I don't. And I do it again.
It is a growing problem in our society. Before, if we had something mean to say - we would vent to our friends in person or on the phone. If you were lucky, you would just jot your frustrations in a journal to free yourself from the burden.
Now, those options are still available, but we also have social media to rant and rave on. And it's so much easier to do.
Why, you ask? Because we don't have to be held as accountable for our words. We can say the most heinous stuff we can possibly think of and look big and bad online. I understand that slip-ups happen, it's easy to do, but the people who continually use Facebook and Twitter to demean others and their ideas are the biggest pansies out there. Yes, you can quote me on that.
Honestly, it does have repercussions for the person posting the comment. It can show how little of a backbone someone has. It will show that they don't want to be a bigger person, but instead, whiny and hateful. You can lose a lot of respect that way.
Although I like disputes to remain as minimal as possible - it is better to be upfront and honest with someone in person, than to go behind their back and belittle them with harsh gossip - online or otherwise.
Let's be kind to one another. I have had people say horrible stuff about me on social media and it is unbelievably hurtful. I have said hateful things about others and know that I have hurt others in return. The cycle could easily be stopped if we have restraint in our postings.
So please pause before hitting "Send" or "Post" online. It can save you from feeling guilty, looking like a bully or a spiteful person. You can also save your reputation. And, most importantly, it will save an person from receiving the pain you so wish to give.