How to be a Peaceful Person in a Hostile World

How to be a Peaceful Person in a Hostile World by Daisy Luther

It’s the hottest day of the summer so far. The mercury is way up there, and all you want to do is stay in your nice air-conditioned home until it cools off after dark. But alas, you have a life, and you have to go outside. The second you open your door, the heat blasts you so hard it feels like a physical blow.

That’s exactly what it’s like online right now, no matter where your politics lie.

Except instead of heat, it’s a blast of hostility, hatred, and rage.

The Death of Civility

After the most tumultuous election many of us have ever personally witnessed, the animosity still hasn’t waned three months after the shocking (to some) results were announced.

In fact, it’s gotten even more heated.

I’ll try to lay this out without divisiveness because taking sides isn’t my goal here.

One side is unwilling to accept that the election didn’t go their way. Their rising and noisy discontent has enflamed the opposite side.

The result is ugly.

It’s all-out verbal war on social media, as people spew hate-filled, destructive things to one another. There is hardly any attempt for understanding on either side. Instead, there are threats, mockery, name-calling, and spite. If you call anyone out on their behavior, you are instantly named a supporter of “the other side.”

Basic civility seems to be dead, as people laugh at the fate of innocents, blithely plan violent events, and fan the flames of rage. They insult others and laugh at their misfortunes.

The rage level just keeps inching up.

Meanwhile, those flames are fanned by the media. Left. Right. It doesn’t matter which side. From both biases, there are breathless denouncements of “the enemy” that just tick people off more.

Politicians certainly aren’t helping either, using their platforms to stoke the anger levels even higher.

While there are some genuine hard feelings out there, these entities are throwing gallons of gasoline on the fire on a daily basis – and they’re making a ton of money doing it.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of it.

Not just annoyed. Not just a bit tired. Sick to my very soul to see how low so many people have plummeted.

It’s times like these when you see the true nature of the people around you. And sometimes what you see isn’t pretty.

I can only imagine that if the situation was truly dire, and the last bit of food was involved, that these are the people who would be out there fighting for it. Terrible picture, isn’t it?

A lot of people are feeling hopeless about the future right now.

These are the things you really can’t control.

First, let’s talk about the things that are completely out of our control.

We can’t change what is reported in the media. Heck, half the time we can’t even decipher whether it’s true or false. But here’s what we can do:

  • We can refuse to be gullible.
  • We can cross-check our facts and try to get an idea of the real picture, but we have to keep in mind that the media on both sides is biased and that the truth usually lies somewhere in between.
  • We can support outlets we perceive to be more honest, but we must always remember that nearly everyone has an agenda.

We can’t change the hearts of people who have descended into hate. They’re going to have to dig themselves out of that pit.  But here’s what we can do:

  • We can offer a helping hand up when they’re ready, but until they want to climb out, that’s where they’ll be, regardless of our actions.

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