I have a rule of three. It works for me. For instance, if I think someone is prone to being mean towards others, I don’t decide this is true when I observe the first instance. (Caveat: depends on the incident of course, they vary by degree.) If another incidence is observed, or affirmed from a highly trusted source, that is number two. I am aware at this point that there may be a pattern, the first incidence is not the result of a “bad day”, or miscommunication of some kind. When a third incidence is observed my perception of the person will include that knowledge that they are willing to do mean things to other people. With me, once I am aware of a propensity, the knowledge cannot be erased or denied. It can work in reverse of course, if three impressive good deeds are noted, under circumstances where there is no social reward for having performed them, then I become aware of this personal strength in a person.
The rule of three kicked in last night at 11:00 p.m. Attila and I had turned in for the night, but I was not falling asleep. As it turned out Attila had not fallen asleep either, so we decided to get up and putter for a while before trying again.
What was on my mind was a recent Facebook post of mine, where a “friend” had used the discussion as a platform to swear at and belittle other people. He had done this once before, and I had hoped it was a one-off. It was not. He didn’t just abuse one person, he abused three people in that thread. His last missive, which I read just before going to bed, was vitriolic, not threatening, but angry and derisive, and he used foul language to emphasize his points. I suspect his inappropriate comments were facilitated by alcohol. He was a friend of a dear departed loved one, who passed away decades ago, and the connection, at least for me, has been sentimental in nature.
I looked for a way to disallow the errant “friend” from making comments, while remaining “friends”, as I had often made pleasant comments on his timeline when he posted things I could “like”. My only option was to block him, and if I blocked him I would also have to unfriend him. So that is what I did. Then I went to the thread where he had been so unpleasant to people he didn’t agree with, and I deleted the entire thread. It felt awful to “unfriend” someone, it took much thought to make such a decision. And although it was hard, it felt completely right at the same time. When it was completed I felt relieved that I would no longer be exposed to the flailing angry words he utters so thoughtlessly.
Attila and I puttered for a while after that, and then we retired for the night, sleeping peacefully and soundly until the alarm woke us up in the morning.
My back has completely recovered now, from my ill advised foray into snow shovelling. My blood pressure is within normal range. I don’t get out to walk nearly as much as I think I should, but I do get out several times a week, which is an excellent performance for the dead of winter.
I am sitting in the living room writing this entry, in my comfortable chair, looking out of my living room windows. They are corner windows wrapping around the south and west walls at the corner of the house. The cafe curtains prevent me from seeing out at street level, but allow me a vista of the trees just outside, with the sky placed right behind them by heaven itself, to bring into silhouette the branches, now stark and bare and thin. It is a scene I do not tire of, the branches still or swaying, barren or in leaf, the sky blue bright, or grey dull, or both blue and grey and changeable. I love early morning light through these window, just before the first signs of dawn, or the evening light just after the sun has dipped below the horizon. My view is an ever changing work of art, and it keeps in my heart the feeling that I belong in the world, and it belongs to me in equal measure. It cradles my ancestors and my descendants, it is where time converges and expands simultaneously. These old and drafty windows bring me gifts each and every day.
Date: 3:00 PM EST Wednesday 1 February 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Dew point: -4.8°C
Wind: SSW 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -4
Visibility: 24 km
“My pain may be the reason for somebody’s laugh. But my laugh must never be the reason for somebody’s pain.”
I lifted this from Aunt Beulah’s blog, very timely words.
I don’t have a rule that I go by when it comes to removing folks from my Facebook but there are definitely times when I’ve found it necessary, for my own peace of mind. I just don’t need the harshness or attacks in my life. I may look in on uncomfortable things periodically as you do (ie with politics and all) but I have no wish to have them hitting me over the head uncontrollably. I prefer to access that sort of thing when I’m feeling strong, feeling up to handling it.
I also enjoy our tree views outside our windows. In the backyard we have a band of pines which gives the illusion of a forest, while at the front we have our bare ash branches which spiderweb a distance away from our front window. Both so pretty!
Teri, I developed the rule because I am way too soft hearted, and the rule allows me to take reasonable action to protect myself from things, without suffering guilt or doubt. I find that without the rule of three I tend to wait far too long to make up my mind about a person, or what action I need to take. It is a self-regulating mechanism, which not everyone needs!
Pines are beautiful trees, and I love how they sound in the wind, you must be able to hear them in the summer with the windows open. Nice variety, bare branches, and evergreens, a visual smorgasbord.
DH and I love to sit out on the back deck when the weather is good. DH says, and I agree, because of the natural beauty and wildlife that come around the trees it feels like we’re at a lakeside cottage, with the lake just the other side of the trees.
Yes, the wind through the trees can be wonderful. We have one large pine at the back corner of the house – the corner of our bedroom – which gives wonderful whooshes in the breeze any time of year. Makes for great sleeping on breezy nights.
Kudos to you for having some guidelines for your use of Facebook. Three chances is surely enough! I don’t enjoy unfriending people either, but I enjoy reading insults and bad language less!
Maggie, remember we were talking about making a difference in our little corner of the world? Well, this quote crossed my Facebook today and I’m in love with it.
Do not be dismayed by the brokeness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you. ~ L. R. Knost
Thanks Dianne, us softies need guidelines, I had to make up my own in a time of need. It is quite sad, the lack of ability to communicate ideas respectfully, but it can be learned.
Teri, that is a lovely quote. I like that it doesn’t pussy foot around about the state of the world, it offers solace and solution!