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If You Look For The Bad In People You’ll Find It: Don’t Fall For Outrage Culture

“If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will.”⠀-Abraham Lincoln⠀

This has been one of my favorite quotes since I was a little girl and I saw it in a movie. As a kid, I simply interpreted it as a reminder to look for the best in people. As an adult, it’s grown to have so much more meaning… And lately, its been weighing on my mind.⠀

With a collective sub-zero tolerance for other humans to be, well…human, and cancel culture on the rise, real/viable/healthy connection is scarce. So much of internet lala land is an illusion. It’s way too easy to develop warped or biased perceptions and even easier to “cancel” other humans. Not only that, but instead of seeing a whole picture, it often seems we are determined to make everything polar.

Decided someone is wrong? Block.⠀

Someone challenged you? Delete.

Don’t fall for outrage culture. Before getting on board with an inflammatory argument or opinion and hopping on an outrage bandwagon, you have an ethical responsibility to do some emotional inventory and check your logic.

Between mainstream media and social media, I’ve had my fill of this trend. So many posts have made my eyes roll out of my head and down the street. Sure, there’s a LOT to be globally outraged about, don’t get me wrong. But, we should save our outrage to fight true crises and universal injustice. In the internet cess pool of snarky opinion, there’s also a lot of noise that you need to keep scroll past.

So, how can we discern? Before buying into someone else’s outrage ask yourself these questions:⠀

1. What is beyond the headline/hook; what’s the WHOLE story?

2. Is it even TRUE or accurate? Check their claims.⠀

3. How well do I know/trust the source?⠀

4. Are they, perhaps, presenting their own emotional baggage as fact?

5. What’s the opposing side’s argument? Challenge yourself to see it.

Also, we need to ask ourselves hard questions and unpack the answers. Are we as a demanding grace that we aren’t willing to give? Are we out looking for reasons to be angry? Are we set on perceiving someone’s worst intentions? Do we actually live a double standard? People aren’t 2D avatars. We need to reign in our quick judgment and give other humans more credit.

I want to encourage everyone to stay grounded in reality. I want to challenge you to do the work. Question your behaviors and thought processes. Grow to a place where you are so comfortable in yourself that you believe the best of others. It costs nothing and doesn’t hurt anything to assume the best in people. Even out here on these social media streets, remember that humans are faulty beings. People are creatures of emotion, not logic. Not a single soul has it all together and everyone is doing their best. Additionally, if you’re someone who is rallying people to be outraged about trivial subjects, well. You need more than blog post advice.

If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it… you surely will. Keep your head on a swivel, friends. Don’t be mad when you don’t have to be.

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