Written by Elsabe Smit
I like to believe that there is good in every person, and all we need to do is keep looking and keep loving.
I am also realistic because life has taught me that this approach only works up to a point. Some people are on this earth to spread poison and malice, and with the best will in the world you cannot change them, because their mission is not to change.
There have been times in my life when I was so bombarded with negative energy that I felt I was being dragged down into the same space as the people who projected their lack of self-love on me. I have had to make some very hard decisions about people that were supposed to be close to me, but who were clearly out to destroy me. I had to distance myself from those people and it was very painful but necessary for my own survival.
The consequence was that by detaching myself from the person and the situation, I discovered what those people had to teach me. I was then able to appreciate the wisdom I gained from them and think of them with unconditional love – or so I thought. The love was there, but on the condition that despite my gratitude towards them, I had to stay away from them if I wanted to be my true self.
I discovered that as people we are not capable of unconditional love, but we are capable of forgiveness – in the sense that forgiveness means understanding what those people have had to teach us, and feeling gratitude for the wisdom we gained from our experience.
Social media is no different from life – in fact, social media contacts are probably even more intense and instructive than having personal contact with people.
When we have personal contact with people, we can lie and pretend, and get away with it for a while. With social media, every word and sentence you type carries its own energy, and people pick that energy up, even if they deny that such energy exists.
I have blocked contact with a handful of people of the type of “hi mem I want to merry nice amerikin girl mem do you life alone mem“. I have blocked contact with one other person who was incredibly destructive and who on more than one occasion had a field day while intoxicated, only to brag about the situation afterwards.
I do believe in freedom of speech, and I also believe that bad energy rubs off. There are times when you have to decide to either love and leave contact or be dragged down to the level where that contact feels comfortable. This is no different from life away from the internet, just more intense and therefore happening much faster.
If you ever decide to block a social media contact, I trust that you will do it with love and understanding rather than with anger and resentment.