Monday, September 7, 2009
"Life dies inside a person when there are no others willing to be-friend him. He thus gets filled with emptiness and a non-existent sense of self-worth.” ~ Mark R. J. Lavoie
Being fairly new to the cyber world, it has been quite interesting for me, this past year, to see how important some of the relationships forged online can become.
One of the things I have found most incredible is the way some people talk to others they meet online. Because of the benefit of anonymity – of the sender and receiver alike – harsh words are flung around and frustrations are set free, with not a moment spent thinking how those words affect the person they are directed to.
I originally thought the main reason was that people felt free to unleash their own anger without fear of public shame being attached to their real identity, but I also believe that many feel free to lash out and act childish because they don’t fully accept the fact that a live, breathing human being exists behind the screen name they attack. Online fighting becomes a game, an anonymous, interactive soap-opera we can be leading characters in. The assumption that everyone we virtually speak to lives a life similar to our own makes it easy to speak without thinking – after all, if one doesn’t like what’s being said, they can always turn the computer off and focus their attention elsewhere.
In a perfect world, it would make a lot of sense, but in true life each person lives a different reality, and there are people out there who have no other means to connect to others. The possibilities are endless – there are sick people who can’t leave their homes or even their bed, unemployed people who die inside at each rejection and go online to get their mind off their hardship, people in pain, people alone who don’t have the luxury of turning their computer off without being deafened by the echo of silence around them. To all these people, the internet is their rope and their hope, and even if their name is Daisy Duck or Green-eyed Monster, they feel and hurt, and rejoice just like anyone else.
So give this point a thought – if you are lucky enough to have friends, loved ones, a job to go to, transportation to get there, money to spend on silly things, and your health most of all, you have an extra reason to be kind to whomever you will encounter today, whether online or in real life. A little compassion and the right perspective go a long way, as what you have today could be gone tomorrow.
To those who are alone, those who need a kind word and feel the world has left them behind, I’d like to dedicate a video I watched just today.
We may never meet in real life, and our paths may only virtually cross, but I do care, no matter who you are. There are no bad people, only bad situations that make them numb, so here is my wish for you today – I wish that in this moment you don’t feel completely alone as you fight your battle. I may just be a screen name but I believe you are a worthy human being. Even if your name is Mickey Mouse.