The Practice of Forgiveness on Facebook
The ego's belief in attack
I recently had a strange experience on Facebook and for me it very clearly illustrates the thin line between love and hate that we all walk every minute of every day as long as we subscribe to the ego's idea of attack in order to self preserve.
A Facebook friend shared a poster which my wife read in our feed. The message was actually pretty strange in that it said something to the affect that “Although you have touched and been a great influence in the lives of many people, I am not one of them because I think you are an idiot.”
The message however contained misspellings which my wife was unable to resist correcting. So she posted a comment saying she wished the person who wrote the post would correct the spelling mistake.
The friend who shared the post thought it was me and replied that I was being over analytical and that I should appreciate the joke. I took this as a cue that this was all just a joke and so I decided to get in on the fun and I wrote a comment saying that it wasn't I who had written the comment in the first instance but my wife but the laugh was now on her as she herself had not noticed a second misspelling.
A joke is not a joke if you are on the receiving end!
I was not prepared for the anger which was then unleashed on me. I was accused of being uncaring and nasty. I was told that she had expected more from someone she said purported to be an educated man. She told me that I had humiliated her and that I had shown my true colours and everyone connected on Facebook to us would now see this.
Put out the fire!
I immediately wrote an apology explaining what I felt was a complete misunderstanding but all to no avail. I was blocked by her and though later a second apology sent directly to her was accepted she continued to make it clear that I had hurt her and I should have known better.
A few days later I did start noticing her “liking” some of my posts but that just lasted for a few days and I haven't heard anything from her since.
Transference and Projection in action
This incident was a reminder that many of the people we converse with over the internet are fragile and regardless of how their communication might seem it is not a good idea to presume that everything you write is actually accepted as you intended. I wrote an article about Trust on the Internet a few months ago that actually deals with this issue and here I was once again dealing with the very same thing.
I am sorry that this person felt the way she did but there is not a lot I or anyone can do about how others perceive us or our actions. Perhaps for that time I had become to her someone who had hurt and humiliated her in her past and those feelings were triggered by a few words written by me and my wife that she used to pull into the present, the pain that belongs to her past. I could have joined her and fuelled her resentment by defending myself and humiliating her further but I didn't because in order to change the future, I believe judgements about another have to be suspended, in the present, and not based on the past. I chose instead to apologise and try to help her realise that I am not the person who hurt her in the past.
Our beliefs attract our experiences
The experience was yet another opportunity for us both to forgive and refuse to allow our past experiences to influence how we now choose to see each other.
Soon after this incident I visited her profile and read on her Information the following quotation under Interests:
Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for."
Does this not go to show that we attract what we believe to be true?
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