Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

We all know that things are not always as they appear, yet widely we still tend to base our opinion of another person based on a very small data sample. As much as we know that we don’t like people to judge us, reduce us to a structured personality profile, assume that we are a particular kind of cat or two-dimensional caricatures; still we tend to do this when exposed to another individual whom we might not know very well.

Our first impression of someone will influence and spin everything they say or do from that point forward to support our initial opinion or generalization of the kind of person this person may (or may not) be.

dont judge a book by its cover things arent always what they seem matchbook

In business, some of the best talent to support your organization comes from the least likely candidates. Often someone who does not interview well may bring the most significant impact to your organization. They might not look the part, dress fashionably or have the best social skills but what they bring to the table can far supersede your more trendy hires or associates.

Of course, we don’t just tend to judge people by their appearance in the sifting and sorting of the hiring process, we judge people based on our own impression of them in all areas of life.

There is the homeless person holding the “Will Work for Food” sign, we don’t think twice before making an immediate evaluation of this person, even though we do not have a clue who they are, what their position in life is, whether they are genuinely broke or not.

When we’re on the prowl for a potential mate, book covers enter the game again. This one’s not handsome/pretty enough, not tall enough, too short, bad taste in fragrance, shoes or jewelry. Then, of course, there’s the number one book cover, “What kind of car does he drive?”

Especially if we’ve been around the relationship venue for some time, we have a whole list of items to disqualify any potential suitor who might come our way, based on our own personal bias and experience.

In a supermarket, you could hear someone in line repeat a particular phrase that sets off all kinds of bells and whistles and you immediately jump to a conclusion about what kind of person this is based on a string of seven or eight words that triggered your psyches.

If you’re on the lookout for demons, you’re likely to find them everywhere you look.

It appears the most judgmental people of all can be found trolling the Internet looking for people to insult, degrade and humiliate.

I know someone who poured their heart out on Facebook (alright, inadvisable, nonetheless) this person was waylaid by an onslaught of vile accusations and ridicule. All from one transparent, honest and open statement, let loose for the world to see; only to be made the subject of further abuse.

In the event that you get hammered by one of these haters, please try not to take it personal. They don’t know you, and they know no other way to make themselves feel better, than to put someone else down. It’s not about you, it’s about their nature, regardless of who you are, haters gonna hate.

Are you a hater?

If we look deep inside ourselves, as much as we would like to deny that we are “haters,” truth be told we are probably more like the haters in the way that we judge or falsely accuse others based on very little information. Some people are falsely accused and sentenced to prison, for being less than desirable.

What can we do about it?

Well, on social media, if you see someone’s post that seems crass or insensitive, maybe check out the individual’s profile to see if he/she is the type of person that you imagined they were based on a few words on a public post. You might be surprised to see a lovely person, who might even be a considered a “friend” if you met him/her face-to-face.

You just cannot rely on your first impression of a person based on a single statement, like or share. You do not know who they are, what’s happening in their life or what caused them to respond in that way. Chances are, if you had walked a mile in that person’s shoes, you would have done the same thing.

And it’s likely that you have liked, commented and posted something questionable, you’d rather not be defined by at some point. Nowadays, it is prudent to think before you post.

You might consider getting used to the idea that there are other people who are a lot more like you than not. These people also have histories, families, hopes, dreams and beliefs just like you (though dissimilar) and that’s okay. Isn’t it?

If not, not to worry, there’s room for you, too… and we love you anyway.

Haters Gonna Hate

Whenever you reach out to do good in the world, expect a backlash from ignorant people who just don’t get it. Not only do they not get it, but they have declared war against you and everything that you stand for, and they will stop at nothing (while hiding behind the Internet) to try to embarrass, defame and humiliate you via the World Wide Web.

haters gonna hate cyber bullying sadistic internet trolls

The first thing to remember is that these people are not innately evil in an way. For the most part, they are lonely and pathetic people with little to live for, who have likely been abused or otherwise victimized in their pasts. Lashing out to authentic, heart-centered people promoting a better life are easy prey, and belittling them, in some way makes them feel a little better (or a little less worse).

So, try not to take the cyber bullying personal, when you’ve shared something intimately from your heart, then get viciously attacked by an Internet troll (hater) who does his best to hurt your feelings and break your spirit.

How to Deal with Haters

So, what to do when you’re attacked via social media?

The best course of action is nothing. That’s right, just ignoring it is the best course of action. Do not respond or try to defend yourself because that just adds fuel to the fire. Just accept it for what it is. A victimized person, who is hurting inside, who can think of nothing better to cope with their pain than to victimize someone else, and using a somewhat anonymous vehicle, like the Internet, is a perfect way for them to strike out, without much risk.

Then there are the people who care about you and know that your inattentions were pure, and resonate with your point of view. Your supporters might rally against the cyber bullying, in an attempt to vindicate your good name.

It Could Be Worse

I know, I thought the same thing. A few years ago, when I was viciously attacked via social media online by a psychopath rallying sadistic Internet trolls to join in slinging hate and discord about me, some other social media users were influenced to join in on attacking me, because I had been targeted as an evil person.

Immediately, my friends began to defend me and respond to the insensitive posting of the haters. Even though my energy was greatly depleted (the attacks ensued due to the loss of my son in Afghanistan) I tried to quickly respond (privately if I could) to beg them not to respond, because just as I had expected the controversy began to turn into full on battle.

As people stopped defending me, the Internet trolls and cyberbullies went away looking for other prey to post inflammatory comments about, for there is no satisfaction for them in attacking someone who will not result in someone expressing their being hurt, upset or becoming argumentative. This left the psychopath to remain alone as the only person left standing who continued to try to defame me.

Apologies and support started to come my way, after a while, from people who had been misled by the psychopath and his temporary herd of minions, after they had discovered the truth of the matter and realizing that they had been duped.

Follow Your Heart

Speak your peace, share your heart and let nothing dissuade you from sharing your innermost desires for goodness, love and hope for a better, brighter world.

Do not defend, or strike back, just let it go, let it be and it will fade away or find somewhere else to go. No need to judge, criticize or poke fun at the haters, because they’re situation is probably worse than you can imagine.

Just be aware that there are people out there who are hurting, and while it’s true that “Haters are gonna hate,” realize they, too, are doing the best they can with what they have.

Your true friends and followers will respect your integrity by seeing you continue to smile and wave through the positive responses and the bad.

Let it go, don’t let it get to you… Keep singing your song.

Dangers of Social Media

Okay, we can all agree that our children (those adorable young cyberspacers) need some coaching on how to safely use social media. There are apparent security risks, like predators & stalkers, being mindful not to post too much personal information (which may mean not posting when and where you are in real time, not posting pictures taken by a camera which includes physical location of where the photo was taken).

We encourage our children to be polite and respectful, warn them not to engage in gossip or putting others (including classmates) down for fear of promoting cyberbullying or creating disrespectful or dangerous social situations in real life school.

Our kids

When we think about the dangers of social media, we think about the young people who may be putting themselves at risk by engaging in a technology they were born into. Like it or not, it is an integral part of their life. Unlike you, they do not know a world without social media.

dangers of social media

You

What about the dangers of social media to you?

You don’t think about that much, do you? I’m not talking about the potential threat of Big Brother nosing around your data or tracking every move you make. No, I’m talking about what danger might you expose yourself to by using social media?

We’re aware of the threats and consequences we’ve read about in the headlines, like people posting their vacation photos in real time and coming home to a home that’s been robbed while they were away (and a hundred, if not more, stories related to posting your location).

For families, the same threats apply for attracting predators for proud parents, as it does for our children (but we might be less likely to take that into consideration). For single adults, there are different kinds of narcissistic predators, psychopaths and stalkers waiting to exploit your social media postings, and the list goes on and on…

Not to mention what is social media doing to us as a culture. Most of our face to face relationships, even voice to voice relationships, as we move our social interactions from real life and even talking on the phone to the more convenient and less intrusive social media platforms. It appears that authentic social interaction is morphing into reclusive voyeurism. I’m not convinced this is an upgrade.

More importantly, I am concerned about the dark side of social media, a place where people can mock, put-down, bully, disrespect and spread hate like a wildfire without any social responsibility. Personally, I choose not to participate in negative social media campaigns, and there are so many to avoid.

Then there are the haters. A hater’s gonna hate and there’s nothing you can do about it. The best advice, if a hater starts hating on you, is to ignore it. Responding to haters or attempting to defend yourself only adds fuel to the fire.

But mostly, I’m concerned about what we inflict upon ourselves by posting our own negative campaigns. I see people that I care about deeply in real life destroying their lives by posting negative comments. These seemingly harmless postings attract more of what they don’t want by declaring to the universe in the most poignant way possible, “I don’t like,” or even worse, “I hate,” whatever follows… and whatever follows is like placing your prepaid order with Amazon for even more of what you posted, with free shipping.

And it breaks my heart to see this simple rule of thumb proven over and over again. I see someone posting about how much they dislike or disapprove of something, then in a few days or weeks, they’re posting about how they were visited by something worse; and if their declaration was extremely vehement, far worse.

On the other hand, there is a camp of folk who are completely the opposite. They post primarily positive and supportive items on social media and they seem to attract more good news and happiness to their lives. I believe there is a connection.

Warning you attract what you post on facebook

Avoid the danger of adding more misery to your life by posting negative comments online.

Reduced to its simplest form (trying not to sound like a Chinese fortune cookie):

Post bad news, get bad luck.

Post good news, get good luck.

post bad news get bad luck post good news get good luck fortune cookie

Connecting with Friends

Ever notice how friends seem to come and go throughout your life, yet others… Appear and reappear at various intervals… and when you get together it’s as if no time has passed as you slip right into the loving and caring relationship where you last left off?

That’s the sign of a true friend

People don’t seem to create the same kind of lasting bonds as they used to.

What’s social media got to do with it?

Social media is dual sided

Sure, it can instantly connect us to family, friends, acquaintances, business associates and people from our past. In regards to connecting in this fashion, the medium is priceless. I even use it to be engaged in the lives of my family and kids, somewhat closing the gap of separation by geography.

The electronic medium is instant – and delayed – all at the same time. Someone can post something in real time, and the viewer can view and/or comment at a time that is convenient.

In these respects social media is a huge upgrade to our lives on planet earth.

On the other hand it leads to deterioration in the level of intimacy in social relationships.

Friendships are more superficial, as there is less one-on-one face-to-face intimate communication.

Plus, there is a technological separation – a barrier – which cannot be bridged by social media. It is easier for me to misrepresent, cover-up, be dishonest or lie via social media to my “friends.”

There is less opportunity to open-up, trust and remain unfiltered in true heart-to-heart communication. Which turns out to create a greater need for counseling, coaching and consulting; and even these areas are beginning to move from offices to streaming via electronic mediums.

Making Real Friends

Childhood friends can form meaningful deep friendship for life

My earliest friendships date back to my childhood; from frolicking and playing (Dog-pile!) with my young friends, out in the open, walking the streets, hiking trails, splashing in streams, playing in the woods… Having fun and exploring; bonding, without supervision, without fear (except the fear of getting in trouble for not honoring the rule of heading for home when the street lights turned on).

Other friendships were forged in between classes from grade school through college. While in-person training is still the accepted model in public schools, there is a growing trend amongst greater education (starting to infiltrate high school) to telecommute or attend via Internet. Not having downtime in between classes, does not allow potential for developing a deep level friendship.

Take a Look Around

The next time you go out to a night club, restaurant – or even a college cafeteria – and take a look around… Even in these public social environments, more and more people are on their phones and tablets, connecting with others, even each other. Yes, I witnessed (and you may, too):

Two men sitting at the bar communicating with each other via text and over social media.

I realize I’m sounding like an “old person” right about now, because the times they are a changing.

The changes have me concerned about the future.

From this perspective, I see the world moving to a place where meaningful relationships are much less meaningful and are superseded by a new model of social connection that – while very connected – is completely disconnected.

How will this affect the future?

Will our children’s children be less likely to have meaningful connections (true friends) with other individuals?
Will there be a growing trend for us to further imprison ourselves, crawling deeper into our homes and only connect electronically with the outside world?

I may only have a handful of true friends – the ones who I have forged impenetrable relationships with, standing the test of time – but they are by far among the most treasured the most meaningful components of a life that would otherwise be solitary, even though I am surrounded by thousands of people. I salute each and every one of you with an enthusiastic

I love you, man!

Now, I’m going to go check to see how liked I am by counting my Facebook friends… 🙂