The Internet has brought us many wonderful things, but this new one, you may want to prepare for.
Previously, I mentioned that we’re still ethically trying to catch up with the Internet and what it’s presenting us. The Web and more recently, social networking, is much more than a way to get in touch with old friends, more than moment to moment updates, and more than a way to meet your potential life parter.
Sure we’re all over the Net posting our best pictures and quotes of the day, but we haven’t yet figured out what it means to have our personal lives also be our public lives. Some of us may remain “clothed”, but some of us don’t… either by our will or someone else’s.
The Web is clearly laying everything on the table. Our cards are being dealt revealing our faults, lies and dirty “secrets” right alongside our sweetness, talents and pride, leaving very little for game playing. Thanks to social networking, sharing our cards, as well as peeking at someone else’s, has been made so easy.
I ended it immediately. I felt hurt, ashamed, embarrassed and used.
It turns out, I wasn’t the only one (pun intended!) and social networking is being hugely related to relationship problems - even divorces. Take for example these recent statistics:
Facebook is quoted in 1 out of every 5 divorces in the United States, according to the Loyola University Health System.
81 percent of the U.S.’s top divorce attorneys say they have seen an increase in the number of cases using social networking during the past five years, according to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML).
Facebook is the unrivaled leader for divorce evidence with 66 percent quoting it as the primary source the AAML said.
The saddest part of this isn’t the stats. It’s the fact that these stats are greatly in favour of pointing the finger away from us and blaming something else - in this case social networking tools. That finger should be pointing directly at us and our reliance on game playing.
In my instance, the biggest problem wasn’t that this man was yet to be divorced (although that was a major fault), nor was it Facebook for revealing a previously secret part of his life. The problem was that neither of us were telling the truth.
His truth: he wasn’t waiting on divorce papers and his wife, whom he claimed to be separated from, was very pregnant with his child.
My truth? Something didn’t feel right. I kept asking him when the papers would come and how he was feeling. I often asked if he wanted to continue with our relationship. He always provided a soothing answer, but my gut feeling never changed. I didn’t ask again the next day simply because it was too soon to ask, not because I felt confident. I wasn’t listening to my inner truth.
No more games. Welcome to the age of truth. It’s here, it’s now and it’s long overdue. This is the age when we’re called to tell our truth… or else we’re revealed.
To be clear, I’m not promoting that we no longer have any privacy in our lives. There are definitely moments and situations that should remain private. I’m saying this: It’s time to hold integrity. Mean what you say. Practice what you preach.
We’re going to see a lot of individuals make mistakes as this age progresses: what it means to be human, faults and all, will be clearly examined and magnified. It will continue to challenge our beliefs, judgements and ability to forgive. We’ll be presented with many opinions and facts surrounding the mistakes - enough to overwhelm. Heads will spin and we’ll be left with only one question to answer: What’s my truth?
If we have nothing to hide, this won’t be scary. If we’re honest, transparent and hold our integrity, this age of truth is no longer intimidating. Instead, it becomes an absolute blessing.
Telling the truth calls us to live consciously and to make conscious decisions. It asks us to be aware and deeply in touch with our inner feelings (gut feelings baby!). As soon as we’re aware, we can act on what our heart is saying.
Consider social networking and the Internet a reminder to tell the truth. Consider them a tool for your spiritual practice that acts as a reminder to follow your heart and practice what you preach. Don’t fake it… or else.