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The Practice of Forgiveness on Facebook

Updated on November 12, 2012

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.

Innocent response

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.

Chill out!

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."

-Bob Marley

Does this not go to show that we attract what we believe to be true?

Link to Spirit Whisperer on Facebook

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    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      5 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you Mr Happy, I love your honesty and wonderful attitude to life.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 

      5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Some people just don't know how to laugh at themselves and take everything a little too seriously. Haha!!

      I only get angry on purpose nowadays. Raise the fur on my back when I want the environment around me to change. Like the time I remember having a bear around when I was trying to set-up camp to sleep. I let-off the loudest firework which produced a bang that probably cleared a mile radius around me of any of my animals cousins: I was tired and needed a good rest without any strange events. The bear vanished probably thinking that hunting season was creeping on him. Haha!! Just a diversion ... it worked though so, I do think that looking angry sometimes can be beneficial, depending on the circumstances.

      Well, soft-shelled people are everywhere ... my radical honesty flutters their feathers all the time. Ohh well ... their problem.

      Thank You for the read Mr. Spirit Whisperer!

      Cheers. : )

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      CMCastro, thank you for the visit and your comments are always appreciated.

    • CMCastro profile image

      Christina M. Castro 

      6 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

      Hello Spirit W., I always appreciate your thoughts. I know that Facebook and any other social website is only one dimensional. There is no body language to interpret. All we have to see there is the written word. And a lot of time I read a lot of venting of feelings. I block a lot of undesirable things and then on occasion I express in my status how I feel about these idle expressions that may stem from hostility. I know that what I post comes from the heart. I would never have a one on one confrontation with any one on a "newsfeed". I have had only a handful of new friendships from facebook that have spilled over to phone conversations and I have even met one fellow hubber/facebook friend in person.

      Adults must learn to be adults, and we have to be conscious of what we post or see posted if any of our friends on facebook are young (my aunt's granddaughter is one of my friends). Thank you Spirit Whisperer for your share of valuable thoughts.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      tnderhrt23, thank you.

    • tnderhrt23 profile image


      6 years ago

      Spirit Whisperer, excellent hub filled with truth and wisdom. Great message for us all! Thank you!

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      You are always the voice of balance and I think we could all take a leaf from your book Nell! Thank you.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Yes, Bill sadly it does.

      Your comments are always wise and greatly appreciated.

      Thank you.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      6 years ago from England

      Hi, I understand why it upset you, it would have really peed me off, I don't understand why people have to be so personal and take it out on others, I have had a few comments over the last couple of years on here from outside people not hubbers, that have made me so mad! lol! but I take a deep breath and move on, now I just ignore them, take care nell

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Alastar, thank you for stopping by and you are absolutely right in what you say and honest Abe's quote sums it up beautifully. I have been rather busy of late but will be over to see what you have been writing in the meantime. If I see any typos I will keep my mouth shut ... if I can hold myself back. :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      My goodness, that last quote by Marley pretty much says it all, does it not?

      I have had similar experiences on Facebook; I have had similar experiences face to face. We all bring a certain amount of baggage to the game each and every day. The trick is to recognize our own baggage. Unless we do it seems to me to be a Herculean task trying to have a meaningful relationship with anyone.

      Great hub, great message!

    • Alastar Packer profile image

      Alastar Packer 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      So, your still sticking your foot in your mouth, eh Dixie lol. Remember when we used to kid each other about typos? Well, I believe you handled the unhappy FB lady situation as well as you could have and so will you with this famous quote by honest Abe himself: You can please some of the people all of the time; you can please all of the people some of the time; but you can't please all of the people all of the time.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      truthfornow, thank you for taking the time to visit and yes, as the picture I use with this hub describes, it is just a storm in a tea cup!

      In my normal every day life I would not bend down to pet a dog I know would bite me and I normally do not deliberately provoke people to attack me. If they do I make a mental note and make sure to them a wide berth in future.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Dee aka Nonna, your comment reflects a very kind hearted and understanding person. I will now have to check out your hubs.

      Yes, people can take anything they want out of what we say but me taking the the best out of the words you use in your comment is how we can also choose to see the best. Unless someone comes straight out with an insult I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt. I think we all deserve that.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Rufus rambles, thank you for the visit and though I agree that Facebook affords us a way to share stuff with family and friends that is not what I use it for. I use it to share my writing, my art and my videos to inform people about my private practice and the work we do. My posts reflect my philosophy and my approach but being human I sometimes can't resist the temptation to joke around and this is experience has taught me I must never do especially with people I don't know. We can't control how other people react to things only our own reactions and this hub explains how I choose to react.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Cyndi10, thank you for stopping by and I agree with you in that without those subtle visual cues our communication can be interpreted in ways we never intended. As long as we are aware of that and refrain from assuming the person you are communicating with understands your humour then you are "safe".

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      always exploring, Thank you Ruby and your policy of never making personal comments unless you know the people is indeed a wise one.

    • profile image

      Arlene V. Poma 

      6 years ago

      I found it childish in the first place to ask a friend if they wanted to be my Facebook friend. So no matter what you do, I'm sure there are feelings of hurt when you "befriend" anyone. Facebook is fast food. But if you can communicate really well with the people you close to, Facebook can be fun. In my family, it turned out to be more of a contest. For some of the younger members, it was, "Look at me! This is what I have, and this is what I just got." I don't care. And I didn't care for the numerous photographs that were published as proof. Also, you have no control over what people have to post, and some things aren't even close to G-Rated. Yes, I truly know what I'm missing!

    • truthfornow profile image


      6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I have had someone freak out over nothing and defriend me on facebook. It is really all so silly. Anyways, this person has never "forgiven" me for I know not what. This person was never really much of a friend and so it didn't hurt me so much. She just looked like a crazy person because the whole exchange made no sense and her reaction was over the top. Nice hub.

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 

      6 years ago

      I really enjoyed reading this hub. It does illustrate, very well, how innocent words, comments, looks, justures, etc. can turn into something that was not intended. Your understanding of what may have triggered her hurt is awesome. Hopefully, once your friend really think it through your apology will be accepted without question.

    • Rufus rambles profile image

      Rufus rambles 

      6 years ago from Australia

      It's very sad when the same people on my friends list keep deactivating their accounts, changing their relationship status, defriending and refriending their boyfriend, keep changing their phone number. It's like they are playing out their emotional lives on facebook. I myself do not even put my relationship status online or anything about my PERSONAL relationship with my partner! That way a lot of privacy is maintained and facebook is used for what it should be - a fun way to share photos and things that happen with in your life with your friends and family (true friends). I also can't believe how many young people these days have over 1000 'friends' who they do not know and really it's just a strange form of exhibitionism especially when they post revealing shots online!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Good article with tons of food for thought. I use facebook for my writing but I don't get personal for all the reason I see in the comments and in your article. It's scary that so much is lost when aren't seeing or hearing the individual in order to pick up those subtle cues our voices and body signal. Thanks for writing this. I'll take a look at your other article as well.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Great article and a clear message on the meaning of forgiveness. I stay away from making personal comments on Facebook, ( Except family ) Eventhough they are listed as friends, we really do not know their life experiences, therefore comments can be misunderstood. The quote from Bob Marley shows negativity very well..Thank you for sharing..Enjoyed

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Arlene V. Poma, thank you for your comment and yes you are absolutely right. Facebook is a wonderful tool as long as you have a purpose for it. It affords me the opportunity to raise awareness in my community of the work my wife and I do at our private hypnotherapy practice here in Peel and it provides them with the opportunity to see the kind of people we are and what we stand for. Facebook isn't something either of us spends time outside of that. We have four children and a busy private practice so you can imagine how precious our time is.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Levertis Steele, thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. You are so right in what you say about how anything we write can be interpreted in so many ways. All we can do is express ourselves but we cannot really be responsible for how someone interprets what we write especially when no offence is intended. Deliberately taking the non-judgmental stance in all my dealings with people is a conscious decision and one that is central to the way I think now. I do however usually go to great pains in choosing how I express myself so as to minimise misunderstanding and I normally don't joke around with people I don't know. I am certainly not going to lose any sleep over what happened but felt that people might learn from the experience I describe in this hub.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Minnetonka Twin, thank you for your comment. Your support is greatly appreciated always. It was an unfortunate incident and I am as much to blame as anyone for what happened. I need to be more careful about who I joke around with and it has taught me that. All in all my experience on Facebook continues to be a very positive one and it has given me the opportunity to explain to people the work my wife and I do here in Peel and through our posts they can see very clearly the kind of people we are and what we stand for.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile imageAUTHOR

      Xavier Nathan 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you Diogenes and of course you are right. The term "friend" on Facebook does not have the same meaning as the relationship you refer to in your comment and interactions like the one I described bear this out.

    • profile image

      Arlene V. Poma 

      6 years ago

      You have to make Facebook work for you. As a gift to myself, I cut my Facebook account loose as a Christmas gift to myself. I did this because I couldn't mix business and my personal life. I wrote about four Hubs about my experience, and I have not gone back. Since breaking up with Facebook, I spend more time with my family and friends. I do make an effort to meet with them and enjoy them. Which is the way it's supposed to be. I believe you can forgive some behavior. The rest is something you accept for being what it is. Either way, you choose. And, you move on. A lot of things are misunderstood online. I would rather face the person because I get clues on how they are really feeling.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 

      6 years ago from Southern Clime


      I could not agree with you more. I get angry sometimes, but I get over it and forgive quickly. I have had people to offend me and come to me quickly expressing a heartfelt apology. I happily let them know that they were forgiven before they asked. I discovered late in life that holdig grudges and anger is quite painful and stressful. I cannot afford it.

      I had a few conflicts on facebook because a few individuals misunderstood my meaning. One sentence can have as many meanings as it has words depending on the way it is read and the words emphasized. People choose to apply the worst meaning for some reason.

      Many FB patrons could benefit from this hub. I do not stroll FB much any more, but I do enjoy having a convenient means to keep in touch with the many friends and relatives that I have and have managed to find there. I found relatives that I had not seen in 40 years.

      Great, useful, and worthwhile hub. Voted up, interesting, and useful.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      What a great reminder Xavier how being on the internet puts us in touch with people that have histories we cannot know. It is very clear to me that she projected many things on you for something you didn't do. I also find it interesting that she felt it was alright making derogatory comments about you on line but when it came to a comment from your wife (who she thought was you) she went off the deep end. You know I am a big believer in forgiveness and getting along in this world. Life is way too short to expend energy with negativity and anger. Her quote on face book was very telling indeed!Great article and I will be sharing this if it's ok.

    • diogenes profile image


      6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      My view is that if a friend is offended by anything you put in words, either you, or they, are not true friends.

      True friends understand one another's centers. True friends are not trivial or exercise frail egos by getting on their high horses over something you said.

      If anyone has two or three good and true friends in their lifetime, they are lucky. All this "friending" and "defriending" on this asinine Facebook is only a game to be enjoyed by children or those with immature minds.



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