The meaningful versus conflict anxiety

Around my online hangouts, I have always tended to be vocal, argumentative, and long-winded. We give it a positive spin. We like to call them “debates”. It’s mostly just politely shouting at each other, though. The joy of the internet is the ease in which we can connect to a huge variety of people. That is also its downfall, because you encounter the bigots, the ignorant, and the malicious in equal amounts.

I do my best not to hold any heated discussion against a person; having a right to their own opinion and all that. Sometimes, in the middle of things, I start shaking and can’t see straight for the fact that someone won’t even look at the evidence being provided to counter their misconception, especially if it’s over something either very simple, or a misunderstanding which could cause another being harm.

But I don’t like arguing with people. It gives me no pleasure. Those of you who know me elsewhere, perhaps you’ll find that hard to believe. But it’s exhausting. The topic gets stuck on a loop in my head. I keep returning to what someone’s said, what I replied with, poking, assessing, and generally feeding my anxiety until I either purposefully depart from the discussion, or we reach a temporary end.

So I’ve never brought that here. I don’t talk about equality, women’s rights, LGBTQ issues. I don’t go into religion or politics or animal welfare. Hell, I don’t even repost things on Facebook that I support, because I want there to be some online space where I won’t automatically have someone arguing with me over the things I see as basic humanity.

Those debates do need to happen, without a doubt. I was told very recently by an observer they’re not sure how, or indeed why, people continue arguing against the known dissenters when there’s no sign of changing their opinion. The truth there is, we don’t just debate to change the other side’s perspective. We do it so those like us, or those we speak up for, know there are more people out here. They’re not alone. We see them, we hear them, we know they exist. Even if it’s not our personal fight, we will stand with them. We care.

My decision to avoid those all too common conflicts at a place like my blog is a problem of its own merit. Shouldn’t have insightful things to say? Shouldn’t I tell the world of my many strong stances about making society even better? Isn’t this the ultimate platform to promote all the good juju imaginable? I could delete comments that try and start arguments, or I could choose not to engage. And indeed, on the days when all the things filling my head are about these topics, I find I run out of other things to say. But I still don’t think I want to bring the war to my home turf. It’s okay to have a little bit of peace, to separate and not alienate myself from my own blog. Surely.

~A

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