There are consequences to the divisive nature of social media platform design and mainstream media polarization. Each person interacting and witnessing this form of communication moves further away from holding the space from understanding others and bridging perspectives.
The “two wolves” parable comes to mind. Are you feeding the wolf of continued polarized argumentation? Or are you feeding the wolf of curious, compassion communication? Something as simple as pondering these questions can shift your experience…. can shift the overall needle….
Have you noticed what it looks likes when someone is continually fighting for their “side?” What is the physical representation when they are so determined to state their point of view? What are emotional ramifications when they lack the curiosity of other’s perspectives?
What’s the cumulative impression when someone proceeds to stonewall or double-down? They cut off flow and connection. Continually taking these approaches brings about contraction.
How can your participation allow others a way to voice expansion? What approach can consist of heartfelt interruption? Do you wish to contribute to these interactions, or do you desire to pull away? If you pull away, is this in contradiction to your own instincts to interact with them?
During the past year I heard an internal voice was getting louder to “block” or “unfriend” some of the friends and acquaintances in my network. Specifically, I was growing increasing alarmed by those who were engaging in a manner of extreme virtue signaling, to which they were disseminating propaganda messaging (appearing to do so as if it were their own original thoughts).
When I zoomed out, it was perplexing. I was intrigued to wonder “why are they doing this?” When I zoomed in, I took their actions more personally. I felt like they were contributing to the sensory bombardment of the propaganda tsunami inflicted by the media. I felt that I had just about had enough of it. I usually prefer not to “block” or “unfriend” someone for occasional instances of this kind of sharing.
In consideration of my own sanity, I was revisiting my stance about how to cope with those who do this. It felt like they were intruding, crossing the boundary that many in the media business already cross. I felt there was too much extreme virtue signaling of this nature (which is actually a vice in my opinion). I thought “doing something about it” could come in the form ridding these individuals from my network.
Suffice to say, another voice came in saying, “what do I know would come from taking that action?” Well, I knew that I would no longer witness any of these friends and acquaintances experiences if I were to “block” or “unfriend” them from my network. Would I be able to hold space for what bothered me about their shares, in order to hold space for them as whole individuals? Sometimes opinionated, sometimes indignant or righteous, sometimes unfriendly or divisive.
For the time being, I’m able to maintain my online connections in a way that aligns with my health standards. Choosing to remain connected online brings me back to deciding about how I wish to engage.. This is something that I continue to revisit. And yes, part of the recourse is finding myself interacting less on social media platforms. I know others who have gotten rid of social media altogether, or those who have chosen to maintain a presence on only one platform. I think each person has to weigh out the pro’s and con’s themselves.
I think I remain there for those intermittent moments of heartfelt interruption. Recently, a friend/colleague, of the virtue-signaling-kind, posted that she having some health concerns. When this happened I had 2 simultaneous thoughts. One was, “what can I do to help her?” The other was, “But wait, didn’t she do her virtue-signaling posts.” Part of me grew to wonder if she (or anyone) would notice the inconsistency in her message.
My first voice was of the heart. My second voice was of the mind. When possible, of course, it’s great to marry heart and mind when proceeding with decisions. In this instance, I decided to go with the “of the heart” voice. I decided to reach out to her privately. Once I went this route, there was good flow. I reached out to another friend who has done work around the concerns that concerned friend was posting about. I was able to make a connection between these two people.
My need was to be of support. The voice of the heart wanted to help her in her process of deciphering her best options for her situation. My need for calling out her previous virtue signaling, didn’t supersede my need to be compassionate. It felt like a small win for me. As no one would know I had this internal struggle unless I had shared it (like I’m doing here with you now).
Anyone who knows me, or reads what I write, knows I believe there is a (Capital N) Narrative that is being broadcast to us. This has contributed to society to “weird out” as a result. For individuals to override their own needs and desires to show compassion and to support others they care about. This is a consequence of the increasing polarization/divisiveness. Even if you think you’re not participating in polarizing as much as “the next person,” it may be helpful to contemplate the residue that comes with witnessing it.
For me, heartfelt interruption is not catering to the external calls for divisiveness. However appealing that may be in the moment. Heartfelt interruption quells the impulse to attach the external divisiveness to something in me. I takes patience. A matter of biding time until a situation presents itself to bridge with a more heart-centered connection.