Arguing on the internet is a futile act. It is road rage at the keyboard. It rarely accomplishes anything other than raising one’s blood pressure. Today, arguing on the internet is such a common practice that it illustrates just how bad things are in our society. I was recently reading an article where someone was bashing Tony Robbins, one of the marriage experts I reference. A link was provided where Tony personally responded to those who had questions about his divorce. Reading the comment section was most illuminating. In this article, I address three topics I discovered in that comment section: arguing on the internet, vows, and bad mindsets.
Before I get into my findings, let me discuss the controversy about Tony Robbins. Like anyone who has been in the public eye for as many years as Tony has, there will be people who do not like him, don’t agree with him, and try to denigrate him for what they perceive as hypocritical behaviors. I remember a mentor of mine, Jim Rohn, who warned audiences not to look too closely at his life as he knew it was much harder to follow his advice than to speak it. In today’s highly divisive and politically charged society, many adopt a philosophy that winning is everything. Being right becomes more important than to be loving. If you follow the link to the article and read the comment section, you’ll see what I mean.
An undeniable fact is that no one is perfect. We all make mistakes. We all sin in the eyes of God. Given that, I know of very few people who are as dedicated as Tony Robbins is in improving the human condition. He’s worked for decades to research how we can improve ourselves and achieve our desires. He continues today, long after he’s made his fortunes, to speak at his conferences and produce materials to help people. He isn’t perfect and he freely admits that. His message, conferences, and training materials are life changing. His personal flaws, whatever they may be, do not take away from his legacy of helping people achieve personal happiness and through his philanthropy, feeding people throughout the world. I am proud to recommend him as a life coach and marriage expert.
Arguing on the Internet
Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, or comment sections, it is easy to find folks arguing. We state our opinions and want people to agree with us. We have a desire to be right. The problem is, we may not be. It is one thing to state our opinion, but it is another thing to argue that our opinion is the only one everyone should have. When we come across folks who disagree with us, the nails come out. We become bitter, accusatory, and nasty. We call names. We try to make others sound stupid. We demean them. We are uncivil. Our uncontrolled self comes out.
It is evil.
The political left operates today following a book by Saul Alinsky called “Rules for Radicals.” The book is dedicated to Lucifer. It preaches an amoral plan to demean, ridicule, and conquer the enemy. His tactics are widespread and on full display on the internet.
We must recognize that there are many people out there who follow the Rules for Radicals. There are people who are dedicated to creating mayhem. They are the trolls. They are the ones scoffed at as the adults living in the basement of their parents, sitting in their underwear, eyes glued to the computer screen, looking for the next comment thread they can infiltrate. They have no intention of spreading peace and prosperity. They seek to divide, argue, and cast doubt on any belief they don’t have by attacking the author.Arguing on the internet is like road rage. We allow the actions of someone else to alter our emotional state. Click To Tweet
There are many others, perhaps even friends of ours, who do not have self control or personal awareness. These are folks who easily attack anyone who has a differing opinion from theirs. They seek to be right in order to boost their self confidence. In many ways, these folks are even more destructive than the trolls, because we know them and allow them in our lives.
We must understand that these people exist and cause strife. Arguing on the internet is like road rage. We allow the actions of someone else to alter our emotional state. we sometimes justify our arguing by saying we are just trying to persuade. Attempts to persuade often turn to arguments.
Arguing on the internet is unhealthy and unproductive.
How to avoid Arguing on the Internet
This applies to the internet and in-person conversations. Let me first use an illustration from the article I referenced about Tony. This comment came from a person called “George Walker:”
Tony’s courses are a waste of time and money. I picked them up for free at the Salvation Army after they were thrown out by other knowledgeable people. Tony doesn’t use his own techniques and doesn’t take his own advice. … Keep buying Tony’s courses and his BS. I voted with my dollars and saved for my kid’s education rather than support Tony’s next vacation and new other man’s wife. Hahahahaha
This comment is loaded with name-calling and accusations, and all without a shred of evidence. He is stating his opinion as fact. Lastly he ridicules anyone who disagrees with his laughter at them. One person responded to George citing many examples of how Tony helped her and gave specific examples of how his teachings worked. Not to allow specifics to get in his way, George responded with this gem:
hahaha, Anti-Knee, you are infatuated with hearing yourself talk. This is a blog to address what you will about Tony Robbins, not to criticize what others have to say. You want to give the appearance that you are intelligent. It is better to be thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt. Ok, you are right and I am wrong, does that make you feel better. Can you please not respond to this post and just go off into the night without needing to voice your opinion again to me again? I bet you can’t just stop!!!!!!!!! You have such a need to be heard and you want people to think you are witty. Prove me wrong and just shut the F up!!!!!!!
George challenges the commenter in such a way that is hard to just let go. He knows what he is doing will provoke responses. Unfortunately, the commenter took the bait and kept the argument going for quite a while.
I see this same kind of comment on sights where the topic of religion comes up. The militant atheists roam the internet looking to accuse and make fun of believers. Sometimes they will pose as Christians to cast doubt. They sound good at first and then talk about their “supposed” struggles with faith. It gets folks admitting their faults. It is then that the accusations and name calling starts.
To avoid arguments, consider these recommendations:
- If the thread is uncivil or disrespectful, don’t get involved.
- If anyone starts name-calling, don’t get involved.
- Be wary of all posters, especially anyone you are not familiar with.
- Once someone becomes disrespectful or uncivil, give a warning. If they persist, leave.
- Be aware of your feelings. If something said makes you feel unsettled or angry, don’t get involved.
- It is better to not get involved than to fall for a trap.
The internet can be a lot of fun. Arguing on the internet is not and it does not help your emotional state. Always strive to be fully aware of your feelings and what is going on with your emotional state. That is the best way to avoid any argument, and road rage for that matter.
The topic of vows entered the comment section. When getting married we give our solemn vow to love and cherish our spouse ’till death do us part. Some questioned the use of vows today saying no one keeps them, so why make them? Another said that since divorce is so prevalent, the “’till death do us part” is not included in some vows these days. Isn’t that a sad commentary on our society?
What would make a better society, keeping vows, or not making them with the expectation they would be broken?
The idea to drop making vows because we are not going to keep them is ludicrous. Does accepting the breaking of vows as “normal” improve society? We see that happening a lot these days, don’t we? Behaviors once considered to be shunned are now accepted as “normal.”
Are we so lost that we cannot keep our promises?
We know from many research studies that those happily married for 40 plus years have things in common. One of those things is the idea that they are in the marriage for the long term. They accepted that. They worked through their problems and succeeded. They did not accept the notion that they as individuals were so flawed that they cannot keep their promises.
Thinking about marriage? What do you and your partner think about vows? If even one of you thinks that vows are a silly thing from the past, there’s your sign the marriage is already in deep trouble.
Accepting that promises we make are going to be broken is an excuse for bad behavior. That gives us carte blanche to do whatever we want regardless of what we said we would do. No marriage can survive that mindset. We should all strive to be the best we can be, knowing that we may fail, but even with failure, we can get back up and better ourselves. We should never, ever, accept a deficient standard of behavior. There is a series of books based on the boundaries of acceptable behavior. Defining and enforcing those boundaries is a key to a happy marriage and happy society, not erasing them.
One of my 5 steps in a happy marriage plan is Mindsets. These are the attitudes and beliefs that control our lives. Having the belief that we are so corrupt that we cannot keep our vows is a bad mindset. The comment section for the article about Tony Robbins illustrated many bad mindsets. This is one of the reasons Tony gets a lot of flack from folks. He teaches psychological techniques to help us achieve. To some, anything like this is laughed at, of course without trying them.
Some of the bad mindsets becoming more prevalent:
- It’s OK to be selfish. I have to look out for me.
- I don’t have to show respect to others, authorities, elders, parents.
- There’s nothing wrong with being complacent.
- It’s OK to be indulgent, I deserve it.
- Why should I show gratitude or thankfulness?
- Why should i work or strive? Others will take care of me.
- Why should I have empathy for others? No one cares about my feelings.
With such mindsets becoming the “norm,” is there any wonder why the divorce rate is 60% higher than in 1960 and increasing? How we think is critical to our marriage success and happiness. When I research the top marriage experts, my mind is opened to great possibilities and new ways of thinking. Critical thinking is so important but downplayed today. Critical thinking, having the right attitudes, and developing proper mindsets is a key to an abundant life. The opposite is a group or communal thinking. You go with what everyone else does. You are part of the flock. You accept what is fine for your friends.
Research on millennials shows that because of how they were brought up, many in divorced households, not only accept divorce, but EXPECT it in their life. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is a horrible mindset.
The way to overcome bad mindsets is to water them down with good and positive mindsets. Opening the mind to new possibilities is important. My marriage coaching programs emphasize mindsets by promoting new and empowering ways to think. It is the only way to change course and a prerequisite to taking empowering actions.
Finding Personal Happiness
Arguing on the internet does not bring personal happiness. Sometimes we just have to walk away from a bad environment in order to be happy. We need to unplug from our electronics as often as possible. Unplugging will help you to focus your mind and get in tune with your inner self. That getting in tune with yourself is a key to personal happiness and a good mindset.
The next time you feel the need to add a comment or engage in Facebook or Twitter, reconsider. If you must, consider the 6 points I made earlier about how to avoid an argument. Follow those points and you’ll find yourself in less arguments and a lot happier.