Have you ever sent a text to the wrong person because you didn't take the time to make sure it was being sent correctly? What about when you were upset? Have you ever sent a text in the heat of the moment that you wish you had thought about before you sent? The technology you’ve grown up with is pretty amazing and undoubtedly one of the best ways to keep up to date with what’s going on and to connect with friends and family. At the same time, there’s no built in pause button to make sure you double check your thoughts or take space before sending whatever it is you want to send in the moment. As great as it is, technology doesn’t do a whole lot to protect us from ourselves. As a result, hurtful photos, cruel words and harmful ideas are sent into cyberspace without a moment’s hesitation, with the sender often regretting their actions later on.
We all have hundreds of thoughts throughout the day. Some of these thoughts are helpful while others are clearly not. It’s important to recognize that these thoughts are not necessarily a representation of who we are or what we truly think. In fact, many of the thoughts we have on a daily basis are colored by our friends, our teachers, our families, society and past experiences that have left pretty deep imprints on our hearts. If we acted on every single thought that came up, you can imagine that some pretty crazy things would start to happen so more often than not, we don’t. Technology though makes it a lot harder for us because it gives us a way to act on these thoughts without pausing and thinking about the impact our actions might have.
Think about when you’re angry. We all get angry from time to time. That’s normal. When we’re angry, our emotions often cloud our thoughts and the emotion takes over. In situations like this, when emotions are running high, we often say things we wish we hadn't or do things we didn't necessarily want to do. Throw technology into the mix and suddenly, those words and actions are captured in permanence long after our emotions or thoughts have moved on.
What would it look like if you took the time to think before you typed? How could mindful posting affect you in the long run? These are important questions to ask and the answers may look different for different people. By taking some time to check in with yourself before posting, texting, or commenting, you give your true self an opportunity to speak up. You might realize that the text should actually be a face to face conversation with the person or that the photo you were going to post could actually have a lasting impact on someone’s life. The time you take to think critically and compassionately prior to posting is actually an opportunity for you to dictate how the future unfolds and what part you actually play in someone else’s life. Big stuff when you think about it! So see what it’s like to take that time. You might not get another chance.
Copyright © 2015 by Maggie Steele