Sometimes, it’s difficult to be nice. These days, it seems the trolls are out in full force, just waiting for an opportunity to cut you down. Being a compliant individual by nature, I have been very patient with some of the ridiculous things I’ve seen and heard since the pandemic began. I’ve tried to read as much as I can so that I can be as well-informed about the topic as possible. I’ve tried to give people the benefit of the doubt with regards to whether or not what they are saying makes sense or if it indicates a need, on their part, for some deeper introspection and healing. I draw the line, however, at someone trying to lecture me on the importance of wearing masks simply because I posted something about being understanding towards those who may not be able to wear one due to trauma or other conditions. Normally, I would just let it roll off my back, but today was a bit different.
Today, I shared a meme about the importance of understanding that there are some people who suffer from post-traumatic stress due to having been raped, molested, etc. Also included in this group were those who suffered from autism or other neurological issues that make it difficult for them to wear a mask without difficulty. A lady I had known on Facebook since 2008 decided that she needed to put me in my place. Obviously, she didn’t know me as well as she should to have been a friend for so long. She proceeded to tell me that basically, I should be more healed from my trauma at this point and that wearing a mask was absolutely necessary. But she didn’t do so with quite as much maturity. See below:
Needless to say, we are no longer friends. I don’t believe anyone should ever be this disrespectful on a post, but the thing that really bothered me was that she had the audacity to question how I am handling my healing process. How is a woman (who claims to be a rape survivor) going to try and tell another rape victim that they shouldn’t have a negative reaction to something that reminds them of the rape? You can’t tell someone else how to heal or how quickly or complete their healing should be. This is the problem with people trying to force their beliefs on others. You can’t possibly know a person’s entire back-story or how they have experienced things. With those who have experienced trauma, for someone to try and dictate how that person should cope or to what extent a person should be able to function is completely inappropriate and hateful.
There is nothing wrong with suggesting an alternate viewpoint to someone, but if you are approaching your conversations as an opportunity to beat someone into submission with your viewpoint, then you are only adding to that person’s pain or discomfort. If we can be nothing else, we must always strive to be compassionate. This means to everyone. This means to all groups. To all people. All sides need to consider the impact their words and actions have on others. When I posted the meme on my Facebook page, I took time to think about whether or not it was something I was comfortable saying and whether or not it was said fairly. It was, and so, I posted it. There was no reason for anyone to attack. It’s simple. If it’s not your page, then it isn’t your soapbox. If you can’t be civil, then you need to express your viewpoint on your own page. You can disagree without being rude or treating someone badly. The sooner everyone remembers this, the better it will be for all of us.
Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.
~1 Peter 3:8 NIV~
Rebecca Benston is the owner of Higher Ground Books & Media and the author of over twenty titles currently available through Amazon and other outlets. Her books include a mystery series (The Rona Shively Stories), empowerment resources such as Wise Up to Rise Up, Don’t Be Stupid (And I Mean That in the Nicest Way), and From Judgment to Jubilee, children’s books including Grumble D. Grumble Learns to Smile, All the Scary Things, and See How Strong You Are. Benston lives in Springfield, Ohio with her awesome daughter, Mya and enjoys traveling, reading, writing, and telling it like it is. She enjoys being able to help other authors get their stories out there through Higher Ground and has recently expanded her freelance services to offer more extensive guidance as a writing coach and social media manager. For more information, you can contact Benston at firstname.lastname@example.org.