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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Life After "Like"

Have you noticed the intense postings on social networks? They can be about their family, their jobs or their personal appearance. Some will post updates on a traumatic experience. Many truly are in crisis and feel they have no where to turn. It was in one of these such postings that I thought of my parents.

My dad was born in 1920 and my mom in 1925. Both have passed now, but while they walked the earth their journey was often littered with roadblocks. Alcoholism and gambling were no strangers in our household. Money was always and issue as there were 10 mouths to feed and a meager paycheck to rely on. The roof leaked continually and the heat never seemed to reach every room. I often heard my mother crying and watched my father fade into his bottles of beer. What would they have posted?
Would they have had the time? I wonder...

And what of me...what would I have said? Would I have had the courage to tell anyone…I sure wasn't able to then. Luckily the trials and tribulations became less and less as the addictions were addressed and peace pulled up a chair in their home…eventually. But still, would they really have shared this, probably not. Not because they didn't have some wonderful truths to impart, but most likely the internet never would have been a form of communication that they would ever become comfortable with. My parents probably would want to send them a card. If my father knew of the individual he would most likely want to send them a home cooked meal (he was a fantastic cook!) My parents used food to show their love. They both grew up very poor and having a meal meant the world to the them.

My heart truly goes out to some of the posts I have read. I see such heartache and turmoil. I hear and feel their pain and wonder what agony they must be in to post  things like "I can't and don't want to be me anymore, I hate myself, and I wish this would all go away." I want to encourage them, tell them they are not alone. But often I do not reply to their statements as I feel it seems to become a static that doesn't find its way through the storm. And so I usually, if I feel led, will contact them in a more personal way.
Somehow posting smiley faces, little hearts or worse yet… LIKE doesn't feel like a response I would want to receive.

And what about that LIKE? What does it mean? Does it mean that the person "likes" that you are in pain. Or is it a way to say, "I hear you and I feel for you--I validate what you have written." Who really knows? That is the point. The person hurting is left with never really knowing what was meant by "like."

Use integrity if you choose to respond. Use a careful attitude and do it in a loving way. Take responsibility for your actions. You can make a world of difference in someone's life by being a good listener. Just validating their pain and listening is very helpful. Most are not asking you to fix anything–they just want someone to know they are hurting.

I think there are many ways to reach out to someone and perhaps this social network is a place to do this. But as you continue along this path always remember that your words are powerful and yes even your clicking "like" has its meaning. Life continues after you hit that button for you and for the person who is struggling. Be love and light in this world and stop before you click and think of how you will be received.
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