Flaming is the name given to abusive attacks by email. I’ve been working on the Internet for several years now and it is very, very seldom that I run into this kind of situation. Less than 24 hours ago, I was flamed.
This flaming gave me pause for consideration. In fact, it ruined most of my night yesterday as I thought about it. Even when I wasn’t thinking about it, the feeling was there. It just feels awful to be attacked in such a manner. Being attacked in any manner doesn’t feel good and this was no exception.
My spirtual beliefs tell me that when someone does something bad to you they must either pay you back in some way or you are paying them back. This could be for something done in this lifetime or, as in the case of someone you never meant and don’t know, it could be payback from a previous life.
I understand that not everyone shares my belief in past lives and reincarnation but that is another story. I don’t want to digress. There is still gold here for those who don’t agree with my beliefs. Besides, my beliefs do not require anyone else to believe as I do.
In this case, I had written a very innocent email to a group of people about a particular item used for ‘natural healing’. I explained what I thought and why I thought it and even where my information came from. I even admitted that there was no scientific proof, just years of observation to back up my opinion.
Next thing I know someone is attacking me. This person took what I said out-of-context, blew it out of proportion and was defending a position that I didn’t have any issues with. But he had issues with what I said and by the end of the email he attacked my work – which is basically a personal attack.
Keep in mind this was work that he had never read and knew not what it contained, but he felt that he should attack it anyway. Basically, I was shocked.
I responded to his email and explained that he hadn’t read what I had written and that I didn’t appreciate being attacked by him. But, I wondered, what is the point?
This person obviously isn’t coming from a place of calm or reason. He attacked me for something I didn’t say and I mean really attacked me. He dug into me as if we had some kind of personal problem with each other.
I’ve been wondering: what was the correct way to handle this? As I see it, there are really two problems. One is my own reaction. The second is what is the correct response?
On the first point, let me clarify, I did not respond in kind to this person. I did not attack him in return. But what concerns me most is my own feelings. Why did I feel so upset? I know that when you put yourself out in public, you can expect to be attacked once in a while.
I pride myself on staying calm in difficult situations. However, as I am only human, I do slip. Yet, I want to overcome these shortcomings and this is one more test for me in that journey. I still have much work to do on myself – that much is clear.
I really have nothing to defend and I don’t have a real investment in fighting to prove some point of view that means nothing to anyone when you come right down to it. Yet, even though I didn’t flame back, the emotion was there.
Let me illustrate this problem with another example. Some people advocate non-violent communication. They have correctly deduced that if you work on removing violence from your communication, it is harder for violence to manifest physically – not impossible, just more difficult. I admire these folks for their hard work to make themselves better.
For me, I strive to go one step further. Violence, in my opinion, starts a step or two deeper than communication. It starts with that feeling in the heart. It is a feeling of injustice, a feeling of anger, a feeling of indignation. Even worse, it could be the feeling of hate.
The human heart then is the problem. That is where I strive to change myself. And it is much harder than you might imagine.
Therefore, perhaps how I responded was not the problem, it is how I wanted to respond that IS the problem. I honestly wanted to punch this guys lights out. I confess that is a violent thought. And I am saddened that I still have this type of reaction after years of trying to cleanse my heart of such things. Worse, I thought that he was a total moron, an idiot who is completely irrational and even ‘stupid’.
These are all bad things in my opinion. I should not have felt this way, but I did. I should not have had such thoughts, but I did. That makes me sad. The good news is that I didn’t flame this person back. There is a time in my life when I would have. I’m glad that time is in the past.
Unfortunately, the feeling was there. My wish is that I could have immediately felt total compassion for this person, even though he had ‘wronged’ me. My wish is that I could have responded from a place that was completely unconcerned for my personal reputation or need to defend my thoughts or position.
I look forward to further character development. I hope I get there quickly. This is also the answer to the second question: How should I have responded? The simple answer is, my response will always be the right one if I come from a heart of kindness, tolerance and compassion.
Sadly, such a state of mind is a long distance away for most of us here on planet Earth. Never-the-less, I have to get there. It is the only place of being that makes sense.
Copyright 2008 David Snape ATP
Dave encourages those of a spiritual mind to read Zhuan . Falun Dave is the author of: What You Should Know about Gum Disease. You can reach David at https://tobeinformed.com You may reprint this article on your website or blog, provided that you keep this author resource box with the article and that all hyperlinks are kept ‘active’.