Love Beats Hate: Blogging Event – Please Join Us!
The first two quotes below may seem like an unusual way to begin a piece on the topic of LOVE. However, I feel the need to provide some context. While my intention with my Love Beats Hate post is to focus 97% of my energy on writing about LOVE, I feel that before I can do that justice I need to very briefly address the topic of hate. The fact is that while this campaign was inspired by many things, the factor that is probably most responsible for its inception was something incredibly negative that appeared on a social media site.
“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but cannot be taken away unless it is surrendered”.
~~ Michael J. Fox
This quote perfectly sums up my feelings in regard to the situation mentioned above. While the content that the individual in question posted was despicable and aimed at people belonging to various marginalized groups, the people he was attacking can choose how they respond. He does not have the power to take away anyone’s dignity. While the social media situation I just mentioned is one of the biggest factors that inspired this Love Beats Hate campaign, I wish to point out that individuals who spread such hatred online are the exception rather than the rule. There are far, far more people on the Internet (on social media sites, blogs, forums, etc.) who are caring for one another, supporting each other, and… yes… LOVING one another.
“Hate is too great a burden to bear. It injures the hater more than it injures the hated”.
~~ Coretta Scott King
The quote above really captures the notion that the person disseminating hate is actually harmed more by doing so than are any of his/her targets. While the primary targets in the very unfortunate situation I recently witnessed were people who have a disability or serious illness, other people from various marginalized groups were cruelly attacked there as well. It is empowering to know that we can choose how to react to such hatred and bullying. It is reassuring to know that for every one individual who spreads hatred online, there are far more people who conduct themselves in loving, positive, helpful ways!
With so many people (both bloggers and non-bloggers) joining together to shine the spotlight on LOVE rather than on hate, it is easy to see how a negative situation can be turned into a positive one by speaking out on our own terms about the prevalence of countless examples of loving kindness found online… rather than surrendering to those who engage in spreading hate.
“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members, … a heart of grace and a soul generated by love”.
~~ Coretta Scott King
If the greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members, then I have been fortunate enough to discover an enormous number of locations on the Internet that are fairly brimming with love!
“Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival”.
~~ Dalai Lama
I believe it is important to share a determination to shine a spotlight on the positive end of the spectrum of online behavior. My goal here is to focus on the massive, seemingly endless supply of opportunities to interact online with people who exhibit loving kindness, compassion, support, caring, concern and so much more. Too often, our gaze may become focused on the extreme examples of negativity online (cyber-bullying, hate speech targeting marginalized groups, and general mean-spiritedness). To be clear, such negative spaces are real and I find them very troubling.
“Bullies are always cowards at heart and may be credited with a pretty safe instinct in scenting their prey.”
~~ Dr. Anna Julia Cooper
Let’s stop and think for a moment. How often do we hear news stories about positive uses of the Internet such as harnessing the power of social media for good causes that help people? How often do we hear about the benefits of people interacting with others online? Chronic illness patients can benefit even more than most, I believe, due to the nature of their situations. I believe the Internet is a PARTICULARLY valuable asset for people with chronic illness, chronic pain, and/or for persons with disabilities. People in these groups that can, at times, become isolated by their situations. For example, people with chronic conditions and/or people with disabilities sometimes find it more difficult to be out and about due to access issues or simply being too sick to leave the house. I have met many patients online, for example, who are housebound or bed-bound but are able to interact with people online thanks to the technology available today. This access to support is enormously helpful.
“Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it’s not acceptable”.
~~ Jodie Foster
Again, bear with me while I touch on the negative to highlight the positive. How often have you flipped on the evening news to hear about subjects such as the unbelievable power of online support groups? (I’m guessing you haven’t seen such a story on the news lately… or maybe ever). How many times have you seen a story in the media about a community of patients (formed online and active entirely online) that rallies around all sorts of patients… including people who are housebound or confined to their beds… with their online friends as an important component of their ability to socialize with others and obtain support and information regarding their conditions? (Here I should point out that it is not appropriate for one patient to give another medical advice. I am referring to patients sharing information which can assist them in advocating for themselves when seeing their own physician/s).
Since I started a blog in June 2008, I have encountered a very diverse group of people online. Just as with life offline, there will always be bullies. However, my experience has been that the caring, thoughtful, considerate people far, far outweigh the bullies.
Whether it is on blogs, social media sites (like Facebook and Twitter), forums, etc., I have encountered some of the kindest, most empathetic, caring people online.
“Shower the people you love with love. Show them the way that you feel”.
~~ James Taylor
I have witnessed patients checking in on each other when one knows another is feeling particularly ill or has recently been hospitalized; I have seen people join forces to support causes they believe in that help people and literally make the world a better place; I have watched people transition from more “traditional” roles as patients to roles as passionate activists who fight for their cause(s) and advocate for themselves (in their own health care and on behalf of the patient population/s they belong to). All of the above are actions executed with love – both love for others and self-love…
“Compassionate action involves working with ourselves as much as working with others”.
~~ Pema Chodron
There is no shortage of love on the Internet. It’s everywhere. Are you skeptical of this notion? If this has not been your experience, maybe you just need to know where to look. For all of the negative stories about incidents that happen online, there are so many more that are positive!
This Love Beats Hate campaign was just started on November 10, 2010! Within only a week, a significant number of bloggers have registered to blog today about Love Beats Hate. Even more people have “liked” the Facebook page Love Beats Hate and/or marked the Love Beats Hate Blogging Event page to indicate that they will be participating in the event. Many others have sent messages on Twitter using the hashtag #LoveBeatsHate.
Please do continue to share information about today’s campaign on Facebook and Twitter. It would be wonderful if we can work cooperatively to share the blog posts of those who are blogging today on Love Beats Hate!
One does NOT need to have a blog (or the ability/time to blog today) to be a part of this event.
Here are some ways you can be a part of the Love Beats Hate event even if you don’t have a blog (or the ability/time to blog today):
- Share links pertaining to this event on Facebook, Twitter, or via email. (Please use the hashtag #LoveBeatsHate for messages sent on Twitter about this event).
- You can check the list of bloggers who have registered and simply read their blog posts about “Love Beats Hate” on 11/17.
- If you wish, you can leave comments on one or more of these participating blogs to show your support for the “Love Beats Hate” campaign and to let the blog authors know what you think of what they have written.
- On November 17th, you can visit the Love Beats Hate Blogging Event page. You never know who you might run into there. Chances are good that you will encounter a like-minded individual who cares about the event like you do.
In closing, I would like to encourage everyone to generously share the links to the pieces written by the bloggers who are writing for this event. I believe it can make a positive difference.
“A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history”.
~~ Mahatma Gandhi
I wish everyone reading this peace and happiness. I absolutely love blogging and one of the biggest reasons is the sense of love, support, and community I have experienced online. My only hope is that I can give back a fraction of the benefits I gain from interacting with people online.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony”.
~~ Mahatma Gandhi
Let’s take care of each other out there. Let’s not let hatred get the attention. Let’s work to make LOVE so abundant that it cannot be ignored or overlooked. I believe we have the power to change the narrative. Let’s focus on fostering and recognizing the loving, caring, helpful actions and words online. This doesn’t mean burying our heads in the sand about the hatred that does exist online. However, let’s not get sucked in to a situation where we are feeding the energy of those who spew hatred. Instead, let’s join together to encourage and acknowledge the love around us each day online. Look around you. It’s everywhere! Let’s work to help each other. It makes us all stronger in the process.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
~~ Mahatma Gandhi
It’s not too late to join this event. Please join us right here for blogging:
Again, there are many things you can do to support this event if you do not have a blog or are unable to publish a post today.
Looking for more information?
Or, just follow (and use!) the Twitter hashtag: #LoveBeatsHate.
This post was written by Jeanne at http://chronichealing.com. Copyright © Jeanne — chronichealing.com. All rights reserved.
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