When I set out to start writing this blog at the beginning of the year, I was talking it over with my husband. Always the pragmatist, and careful about my feelings, he asked me if I was ready to deal with the trolls. I assured him that I was. After all, it is inevitable these days, that when you put yourself out there, you will eventually encounter some back lash. I have been very lucky, and have only been at the mercy of one keyboard warrior so far, and that encounter was nothing to do with my blog.
I am mildly obsessed with all things German Shepherd related. I think I follow just about every Facebook and Instagram group there is (if I am missing any, let me know!) Every so often something will be posted by one of these groups that reminds me so much of my own dog Annie, that I will tag my husband in it, to share it with him. On one occasion, I did just this and made a comment, aimed at my husband as a joke. This random woman took it upon herself to get on my case about it. Well, it was like a red rag to a bull. Normally a mild mannered enough person, I was shocked at how quick I was to anger. It took all my self restraint not to tell this lady to F@&k off back under her bridge!
It really struck me just how irrational my own response was. Yes, she was a silly cow, sticking her nose in where it didn’t belong, but she wasn’t actually doing me any harm. She doesn’t know me, or anything about me, and she certainly isn’t in a position to remark on my skills as a doggy mommy. It occurred to me, just how easy it would be to get sucked into a debate, and end up giving these keyboard warriors exactly what they want, a stage and an audience!
Unfortunately, it is not only online and with strangers that these situations occur. We all have that one friend or relative that just loves being divisive. The devil’s advocate in every situation. The one who loves giving the pot a great big stir and then sitting back to enjoy the show. Whenever I encounter these type of people, I hear my mother’s voice in my head telling me “don’t be giving your senses to them.” Whether their motives are malicious or not, they can be dangerous. However, this danger can’t exist in a vacuum. It is our reactions to it, which breathes life into it. By refusing to be drawn into their nonsense we can emerge unscathed!
Sometimes, however, the argument will be about more than posturing. Sometimes the debate will be about a topic close to our heart, and we may feel unable to remain silent. We can occasionally find ourselves at a complete in-pass with somebody. Neither party are willing to concede and there is no middle ground to be found. It is at these times when we must ask ourselves “would I rather be right, or happy?” What I mean by this is, if you have come to realise that the person you are arguing with will never see your side, you have to make a decision about which is more important to you, the relationship or the argument.
It is with sadness, that I will admit there are people no longer in my life, whom I dearly miss, because I was too proud, stubborn or stupid to apologise. I let people go, because I was tired of chasing them. Thinking to myself that “the road goes both ways” or “they know where I am if they want me.” I allowed myself to get so caught up in keeping score that I lost sight of what was important. I was so intent on being right, that I gave up on being happy.
This is not to say that I want to be a doormat. I have no intention of being taken advantage of, and I do believe that friendships and relationships require effort on both sides. I have learned lately though, that what is going on in a person’s life, will often determine the amount of effort they can put in. Often if seems, that when one is struggling the most, they reach out the least. It is only by extending a hand to that person, can we know what they are facing.
I think as a people, we are becoming so quick to react. We “unfriend” people for the smallest of slights. We lose contact with people we love, because we believe they should do more for us. We give way to anger and jealousy. We so fear being vulnerable, that we never expose ourselves.
It has taken me nearly 35 years to learn that if the person or argument is worth it, I will have to fight for it. If it is not worth it, I can give myself permission to walk away. Each relationship and circumstance needs to be judged on its own merit, but for the most part, being happy feels so much better than being right. Be well xxx