Thursday, October 25, 2007

Self restraint.....

I have been working hard on using self restraint on the forums of my favorite web site. I discovered right away that it is not easy to keep my opinions to myself and even harder to refrain from commenting on a posting that pushes one of my hot buttons. At first it was easiest to just refrain from posting anything at all. Then slowly I began to enter into the topics that were safe and talk about things that were non controversial.

I don't know how many times I typed responses to posts that were about issues that I have strong opinions on and then deleted them without hitting the send button. But today It seemed to take a lot more effort on my part to not reply than usual.

So what trips my switch and makes me antsy to respond? Well, it can be a lot of things. Today the worst was a comment about people in the fire ravaged part of the state and how God gave us brains and how it is foolish of all those people to live in homes built in areas that God designed to be burned as a part of it's normal life cycle. Hmmm, very callous statement in a forum that had people discussing how they could help the fire victims and some of the people that had been evacuated from their homes were checking in to let their friends know they are ok or to ask if others had been heard from yet.

I typed a lengthy reply that Since mankind had been kicked out of the Garden of Eden, there is no safe place to build where fire, flood, earthquake, avalanche, hurricane, tsunami....some form of natural disaster would not be a threat. Where were they supposed to build a home? That placing blame on the victims was insensitive and out of line. Now, of course, I spent a lot of time on wording it and it was quite lengthy and I was really itching to send it when I stopped.

I got up from the computer and went outside for a cigarette to think about it before I hit that send button. As I sat there I started asking myself why I wanted to reply to this persons comment. Not why was what they said upsetting but why reply? What purpose would it serve? Would it make any of the victims feel better? Would it teach this person anything? Would it somehow make me look more caring or make anyone think more highly of me if I attacked this person? Would it undo any damage the poster had done or heal any resentment? The answer was a resounding NO to all the above. So I came back in and hit the delete button, clicked unwatch this thread and went to work.

So, have I finally learned self restraint? Well, I'm working on it....