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What the Comments Section Taught Me

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There is almost never a time that I read a great article online and don’t scroll down to the angry pit of despair known as the comments section. It’s like a car crash. I know that what I will see will assuredly disgust me and depreciate my faith in the human race but I can’t help but crane my neck and take in the full breadth of mayhem. In person people can be mean. Online people are demonic.

I’ve typically operated under the notion that negativity is the minority. I believed that most people’s natural inclination is to be kind to others and that only a select few deviated into the bowels of evil. The select few being those who were teased a little too much in school, or whose Mom locked them in a basement while she had wine with the girls, or whose Dad threw a baseball at their head at supersonic speeds in the name of teaching them sports. I am wrong. Very wrong. The comments section on social media websites have taught me that the first reaction to hearing a heartwarming, life changing, humanitarian effort or a heart wrenching tragedy that someone is facing is typically to be a sarcastic, ruthless, mean bigot. Of course it’s easy to be mean while safely tucked away behind the illuminated screen of a jizz stained computer but why would anyone want to be?

What the comment section has taught me is this; Positivity is a skill. It’s not something that comes naturally. Positivity is an active choice. It’s a choice that we make several times a day. I can’t count how many times in one day my mind switches over to self-loathing and harsh criticisms but there’s something, a little annoying voice that pipes up, screaming, “This is not helpful! “and I switch back to clouds and rainbows. Clouds and rainbows lead to positive thoughts and forward movement. But sometimes it’s just easy to sit in a Pret A Manger and pick apart random strangers in my mind. It’s easy to see a person or observe a situation and just draw a conclusion. And it’s even easier for that conclusion to be vile.

Positivity is a skill that I’ve developed to keep myself from feeling like poop. It’s developed out of my need to evolve. Negativity in itself is stagnant. It may change but it never really progresses. There’s a cap on evil. The worst thing you can do to another human is torture or kill them. That’s as far as it can go. Death is inevitable anyway so when you really look at it negativity loses a little more of its edge.

On the other hand, there is no cap on positivity. The innovation that positivity nurtures is powerful and on my worst day I’ll chose it. The most powerful tool in our belt and yet still so many ignore it and opt for the flawed, capped, and truncated weakness of negativity. It makes sense, positivity requires work. It requires inward reflection and not outward criticism. Out is easy isn’t it? I’ve always heard from couples who have many years under their belts that walking away is easy. Leaving is easy. Staying requires work and compromise. Only the strong survive the stay. Only the positive ones.

3 thoughts on “What the Comments Section Taught Me”

  1. The flame wars in the comment section are like a car wreck. At first it grabs your attention, then you pay attention to what is going on there, and you’re horrified at what you find. Being positive is harder, but in the end, so worth it.

    1. Yes! Sadly they tend to detract from the main point of the article in the first place. I constantly find myself asking “how did we get here?” while reading the comments.

  2. It’s everywhere that has comments at the end. I find them in new articles and in product evaluations. It always ends up the same – a flame war between two people who have no clue about the person that they’re flaming. So sad. Love your post today. If people just had more respect for one anothers position, and would take the time to actually reason out their position, the world might be a nicer place.

    Rob

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