THE season of peace and goodwill is here! It’s finally Christmas time and even if the main holidays fall on the weekend and everybody seems to be dead broke, we are going to enjoy everything that comes to us this Christmas.
Not the food, drink and gallivanting, because there might be less of that than usual, but mostly the warm feelings that come with this season.
Christmas is a time of cheer, merriment and peace and goodwill to mankind – which is even stated somewhere in the Bible.
Personally, since I don’t have enough money to distract me this year round on the usual frolics I am going to focus quite a lot on the Biblical teachings around Christmas, while reflecting on the most salient points of 2016 as I plan for 2017.
This year has been tough in too many ways to focus on in one article – what with the tight economy; the harsh weather and its after-effects; the dirty and angry politics; and the development of lots of acrimony amongst ourselves especially on social media platforms.
I’ve worked out ways of contributing personally to changing each of those aspects I listed as the tough points of 2016, but this Christmas season will focus on the last bit – that acrimony that we have developed amongst ourselves especially on social media platforms. I have two weeks of this ahead of me, which should help set a tone that should change the way I interact with others on these social media platforms.
This Christmas, in the spirit of peace and goodwill to mankind, I am seeking forgiveness from everybody on my social media network who I may have insulted, angered, irritated, trolled and bullied. I am deeply sorry if I ever tweeted, posted, re-tweeted, typed and sent any message that offended you during 2016 – regardless of how justified or correct I may think I was while doing so.
And in the same vein I am sending special Christmas and season greetings to all the people and ‘friends’ on my social media network who have insulted, angered, irritated, trolled and bullied me. I forgive you unreservedly and pledge to forget all the negativity we have gone through during the year 2016. (Many of these people or characters are called trolls.
Peace and goodwill, trolls and mankind!
I am going to focus quite seriously on social media relationships during this Christmas season because, as I often explain during presentations and discussions, I interact with many more people on social media platforms than I do physically. That interaction, however, is many times not as meaningful as the physical interpersonal ones are – but it does have far-reaching effects.
A brief, light-hearted but negative comment posted on a social media platform could actually destroy a career or reputation and I am afraid of being responsible for any suffering out there just because I have internet access and sometimes wake up on the wrong side of the bed. And I also must let go of any angst I may feel towards you for something you may have said or written in a fit of anger, frustration or even temporary insanity.
I pledge, during 2017, to pay keen attention to the way I speak or write to people and contacts on my social media networks – Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and all other platforms. It’s not going to be an easy task but I do have some methods up my sleeve, and I have had quite a lot of practice (dealing with many children over a number of years helps a lot – including my time as a child surrounded by other children).
I realise, in my approach, that the acrimony and negativity of this year’s interactions might have a lot to do with the other tough points of the year: the tight economy puts everybody in a bad mood, as Bob Marley sang in ’Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)’; the harsh weather kept frying up our brains and heating tempers up or stopping them cooling fast enough; and the political campaigns polarised us and created a heightened negativity even in developed economies like the United States.
So next year I will use my social media platforms only if all other factors are well aligned:
When I am dead broke I will not turn to twitter et al, not just because I won’t be able to afford it but to avoid taking my anger and frustration to others. Instead, I will try to find a positive stimulus and also be one for others who may be in the same empty financial boat.
When the weather is harsh – hot or windy and other such adjectives – I will not reach for my gadgets unless I am sitting in the shade or a point of comfort that will calm my temperament.
And when an issue is highly political, I will step back a little bit and not respond too quickly; rather than dig my heels in on my stance and issues, pushing others to do the same, I will listen more and try my best to appreciate the other side’s position so that we discuss rather than quarrel.
And with that my slogan on all social media platforms henceforth will be ‘Peace and Goodwill – Salaama’, in the hope that everybody I interact with gives me some in return.