The Halt2Proceed program tells us to HALT, to stop, to not listen to Hearsay, Assumptions and to Listen and to Think.
Unfortunately over the past few weeks, I have failed to Halt before making comments about incorrect facts being published online on Social Media.
This has led to health issues and problems. If I had used the 11 steps in the program it may have been different.
There is too much hearsay in the world, Social Media is a platform where too much incorrect information is posted. Most of the information now on Social Media needs to be fact checked before you believe it. Too many adverts, too much incorrect information.
For many people, you scroll past and ignore the posts, but what happens when you are tagged in a discussion?
When a discussion involves you on a Social Media platform like Facebook, it is very easy to get angry by some of the comments, especially if they are factually incorrect, especially when you point out these inaccuracies and the other party will not apologise. You get angry, frustrated and then you start to make further comments.
But why? When you look at the group you are in and it contains a thousand members, or a hundred members, you realise that it is not worth it, you have made your point and you should stop.
Does it matter if the other party continues to rant and make further comments, you know the truth, you know the facts and you know that the people who matter know the truth. Others may come to your defence, others may defend the other party, but in the grand scheme of things, does it matter?
We all let Social Media affect our lives, many people are addicted to it, they spend hours and hours a day on it. If you rely on it for work or as a charity, then you will understand how it works and how it can be beneficial to your cause or business and how it can be the window to the world for your organisation.
I was reminded of this on Monday, whilst experiencing a migraine of the intensity that I had not experienced for 18 years, it was excruciating, all caused by a third party on Social Media ranting. Then I received a message from a friend which said:
"Nothing at the moment matters, your health is paramount"
This one statement is unbelievably powerful, as I knew that the person making the statement is struggling with their health, and it meant so much to me, that they would take the time to make such a statement.
We are all here for a limited amount of time, we do not know when our time will come to an end and to spend precious minutes on Social Media on a debate which is insignificant is a waste of time, a waste of your energy and a waste of your talents. This realisation came after I was informed of the death of a former trustee who I had worked with, who had just retired from his position.
People will come and go in your life, some are extremely important, family and close friends. Others may seem important at certain times, but soon disappear and you realise that your time spent with them is no longer important. We all lose loved ones, many taken too soon, we all suffer health issues during our lives and we must be grateful for the time we have. We disagree with people every day, but if we are to work with them, we must respect them.
My father always told me that if I had an opinion to make it, even if the people did not like your opinion, make it. Do not leave a situation and think 'I wish I would have said that'. This advice was given to me before Social Media existed, before instant communication, where you could prepare for meetings and conversations, rather than get an instant notification.
But it is something that I still stand by, make your point and move on. If you are wrong, apologise, but keep moving forward. We all accuse people, we all react to accusations about us, but if you know the truth and know that the accusation is wrong, why stress. Make your point and move on.
I am guilty of being caught up in a situation where accusations and questions were being pointed at me and you get angry, you get upset, but in time, you realise that your initial responses may have been the correct ones, but the language of the response and your anger is shown in the response. Look back at your emails, you comments when you are angry and frustrated, they will be very different to when you are happy.
Think of the other person, you do not know their situation, they may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may have lost their job, they may have just had an argument with one of their loved ones, they maybe stressed themselves and are lashing out at anyone. Their financial situation maybe one which is causing them stress, they may be in a situation that they did not want to be in, taken on a role that is not what they thought it would be. We do not know what people are going through.
I have learnt one thing this week and it is that there is no need to get involved in lengthy debates on Social Media, make your point and move on, but ensure that your point is accurate, that you have the facts and be considerate to the other people who are viewing the discussion, think, are you causing them upset as well as the third party?
We all live in an on-demand society it can be a terrible place, but it can also be a fantastic place, where people support one another, help a cause and move forwards. We all need to HALT, take a step back, look at our Social Media history and think. Ask yourself these questions:
Did I write those comments?
What mood was I in when I wrote them?
Was it necessary?
How long have I spent on Social Media, when I could be with my family, friends and loved ones?
Was it worth it?
Above all take the time to HALT, think about a comment, think about the other person and then decide on your comments. We have all posted comments which may hurt another person or anger them. Just think before you post, be considerate to others.
I have learnt this week that anger can cause you to respond in a way which may affect others, and this is not a good situation to be in. We all have disagreements, but there comes a time to draw a line in the sand and move forward before it affects your health. For me that time is now. Think of what you are posting and why, if you are representing an organisation, consider your privileged position.
Think of this:
"Haters do not really hate you. They hate themselves, because you are a reflection of what they wish to be"
There are people in your life who will discourage your efforts, and trouble your very spirit in countless ways. It can be deliberate or subconscious. It can be blatant or subtle. The important thing is to not take it personally. It is likely indicative of their own issues and/or character, and it is ALWAYS a means for which you can learn some things about yourself. Learn those things. Keep your eyes on your own journey. Grow. Stay relentlessly optimistic. Most importantly, as difficult as it can be at times, keep a loving attitude towards those who persecute you. They need it. We all do. ♡