As it’s the new year, like always I try to set a precedent for something to change in the coming year. It’s always based on a change I want in my life, something that helps me push forward in some way to address an issue I feel I have.

debate over a chip
Len Matthews via Compfight

The particular issue I feel I have these days is my internal reaction to things I see and then the subsequent nastiness associated with it. For instance, if you’ve read any online newspapers you’ll usually see commentary after almost every post. Local news is the worst because it seems the only people who comment are the ones trying to see who can out-nasty the next person. It doesn’t matter what the subject is, you’ll rarely see a nice comment on a news story, even if it involves kids.

I used to let that type of thing bother me, so I resolved not to read the comments anymore. However, sometimes I’d still go down there unconsciously, to see if I was still seeing what I expected to see. I did, I’d get mad and then let it ruin a part of my day.

Then I came upon a novel idea. I would only visit news stories where I knew the site was at least monitoring comments to some degree. In other words, making people use their real names or else putting comments in their own section so the rest of us didn’t have to see them. When I started limiting myself to that as much as possible, I found that I was a happier person. I say as much as possible because there are some local stories I read because I like to stay informed as to what’s going on around town.

I’ve come to realize that even if I see these types of comments in other spaces, such as social media, that I don’t have to react to them. As a matter of fact, I can block them and I can block the people writing the stuff, and if I’m connected to someone who’s sharing stuff that’s going to get my heart pumping too much too often I can drop them also.

Here’s the thing. Throughout most of my adult life I haven’t had to deal with any of that stuff in person. I don’t see myself as threatening in any way but it seems that people who might feel they should have the right to say whatever they want to no matter where they are or who’s around them never say that stuff when I’m there.

Not that I always agree with what people have to say in person or that they always agree with me. Not even close! But people do temper themselves and alter their speech patterns when I’m around, and truthfully that’s all I’ve ever asked. I like to say that we teach people how to treat us; I guess I do a lot of that. It makes life more enjoyable when one can have reasonable discourse with someone else.

So, this year I’m resolving to bring way more peace to my life; at least in this regard. If I read stuff that irks me, I’ll ignore it. Responding to stuff that upsets you only pleases someone else; I don’t need to be the catalyst for my own mental demise.

If I see too much of it coming from one person I’ll just block them and move on with life. For that matter, even if it’s someone who I agree with in principle, if it gets to be too much I’ll block them as well; why get stirred up for a cause you can’t do anything about right?

We can’t hide from life; things happen that are terrible. I’m certainly not doing that, but I did stop watching TV news a couple of years ago and life started feeling a little bit better. I’m still informed because I get news alerts via text messages. But that’s a lot better than seeing everything and feeling manipulated into a mood I didn’t ask for.

What do you think? Is this something you feel you should do for yourself? Do you have other things you want to change for yourself in 2015?
 

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